Samuel Adams: ‘It’s What’s Inside’

Mccann Breaks Broadcast Effort For Boston Beer’s Flagship Brew
BOSTON–McCann-Erickson Worldwide shoots for the soul in its first campaign for Samuel Adams.
The tagline, “It’s what’s inside,” refers to the lager and the drinker, said Boston Beer founder Jim Koch.
“The fundamental idea feels right to me,” Koch said. “It’s about the beer and the drinker and it evokes where we came from. In 1984, all we had was what was inside those bottles and we believed in ourselves. These ads talk very much about that.”
Two 30-second spots broke last week on network cable and radio programs targeting 23-35-year-old males, Koch said. The budget, estimated by sources at $15 million, is split evenly between TV and radio, he said.
One spot titled “Destiny” is shot from the inside of a car traveling along a desolate country road. “As you get closer, your eyes get wider. Your heart beats faster. Your determination grows strong,” says a male voiceover to a musical backbeat. As the car rounds a curve, a city skyline comes into view. “This is not gonna beat you. Oh, it’s loud. And it’s dirty. And it’s big. But so are your plans. Hey, John Boy. You ain’t in Kansas anymore. From here on in, every day’s gonna be a test.” The spot closes on a long pour shot: “Those who pass deserve a great beer. Sam Adams. It’s what’s inside.”
A second spot called “Odyssey” follows an attractive woman through a city and challenges viewers: “Next time she comes knocking, you gonna hide behind the door? This train’s leaving the station, slugger. Are you on board or what?”
The spots follow several years of misfiring on the television ad front. Koch laughed about some previous ad campaigns. “If you brew a bad batch, you can drink your mistakes. In advertising, you really suck it up in another way,” he said.
Boston Beer reported a decline in sales volume for the third quarter of 1998, and company executives said orders in hand suggest core business shipments for October and November would be about 5 percent below those for the same period in 1997.