SINGAPORE – Consumers, ad agencies and beer distributors were on the receiving end of an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. Print ads in local papers touted a product called XO Beer. Stronger than most beers, which have an alcohol content between 3% and 5%, XO Beer sported the theme ‘12% alcohol; 100% lethal.’ Presumably, the brew is so strong it should be drunk lying down to avoid falling down. Unlike traditional beer ads, the XO Beer campaign featured no nubile women, yuppies, sex or product shots. In reaction to the ads, consumers were asking for XO Beer in bars, restaurants and supermarkets, and scores turned out for its ‘official launch.’ However, outside the mind of Neil French, XO Beer doesn’t exist. The spoof, sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings, proved Mr. French’s point that a beer can defy the conventional wisdom and still sell.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)