Beck’s Lowering The Bar With Its New Light Beer

InBev USA’s $10 million campaign to support the launch of Beck’s Premier Light could be a bold declaration that—at least in the beer category—carbs are dead. Long live calorie-counting.

Five 15-second spots breaking this week, via Leo Burnett in Chicago, herald the arrival of “the lowest calorie beer in the country.”

Copy lines include: “Hundreds of years of brewing tradition crammed into 64 measly calories,” and “There are actually more letters in this sentence than there are calories in this beer.” Visuals show the German brew flowing and the bottle before ending with the signature nightscape scene that has accompanied Beck’s “Life beckons” effort.

“We seriously believe that Beck’s Premium Light will revolutionize the way light beer is perceived in this country,” said Victor Melendez, InBev’s marketing director of European brands.

The taste message will emanate from the import’s tradition of being brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516, with such ad copy as, “Only a German can engineer so much flavor from so few calories.” The initial phase will prominently flag “Only 64 calories,” before Beck’s Premier Light takes on its own personality under the “Life beckons” umbrella.

Being first to market with a brew well below the 100-calorie mark of most light competitors is key, said Melendez, because calorie-counting is making a comeback. He cited company research showing 40 percent of consumers surveyed named calories as the most important kernel for selecting what to eat and drink. And 53 percent who called themselves “carb watchers” said the number of calories in a product is now the most influential factor in their decisions.

The campaign initially was slated to start in April, but the rapid acceptance of the new light beer by wholesalers warranted an earlier start. But while Premium Light holds huge potential, it won’t be treated as the Brauerei Beck & Co. brewery’s flagship brand in America just yet, Melendez said.

Radio and print ads will also support the launch, along with sampling, which will occur through 30 events in metro markets. Produced by Gen Art, New York, the events will showcase emerging musicians and fashion designers.

Gen Art—which helped Heineken create the Red Star Spin Lounge for the brewer’s after-party music outreaches last year—is making InBev its exclusive beer partner this year. Gen Art will provide 50 chic sampling milieus in the indie-film community for Stella Artois, as well as some 20 outings that will incorporate visual artists and Bass’ new Pub Pour nitrogenated can.

Ian Gerard, Gen Art CEO and founder, said he has aspirations to produce television programming after the company’s recent participation in NBC’s The Apprentice and Bravo’s Project Run. So, there’s a possibility that its marketing partners could tag along for other projects.

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