Red Boosts Killarney

When Anheuser-Busch was preparing for the nationwide launch Killarney’s Red Lager, the name of an agency to craft ads popped immediately to mind: Red.

Print ads from Red touting the specialty brew began appearing last week in USA Today and other media nationwide.

The Boston office of Red is handling print, radio and outdoor advertising for the new beverage. Spending was not disclosed.

Tagged “Pub Wisdom,” the effort shows people enjoying evenings out in traditional tavern settings. The ads strive to suggest the brand’s Irish roots in a lighthearted, contemporary format.

“Many great relationships start or end in a bar,” begins the text in one ad. “Some of the best do both in the course of an evening.” A photo shows a couple sharing a kiss.

In another execution, two men prepare for a physical confrontation. Copy says: “Never fight ugly men. They have nothing to lose.”

The campaign seeks “to generate awareness and then trials” among 21- to 34-year-old beer drinkers already partial to microbrews and specialty flavors, said Colleen Beckemeyer, director of new products at Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis.

Along with USA Today, print ads are running in a handful of men’s publications.

The outdoor and radio components will begin rolling out in March. Outdoor ads will appear in 28 markets; radio ads are slated to run in 30 markets.

At present there are no plans for television spots.

The new beer is touted as being less bitter than other lagers, with a “malty, slightly sweet and full-bodied and velvety” taste, said Beckemeyer. “We believe [Killarney’s Red] will appeal to consumers looking for a rich, full bodied beer.”

Red’s predecessor agency, Heater Advertising, began working for A-B, mainly on product launches, in the mid-1990’s. Red, based in San Francisco, also works for Internova, Arena Swimwear, Bingham Dana, BondDesk.com, Breakaway Solutions and Soundbite.