Soul Searching For Samuel Adams

McCann-Erickson Stresses ‘What’s Inside’ in $15 Mil. First Effort
BOSTON–McCann-Erickson Worldwide shoots for the soul of the Samuel Adams drinker in its first campaign for Boston Beer Co.
The tagline “It’s what’s inside” refers to both the lager and the consumers who drink it, said Boston Beer founder Jim Koch.
“The fundamental idea feels right to me. It’s about the beer and the drinker and it evokes where we came from,” said Koch. “In 1984, all we had was what was inside those bottles and we believed in our ourselves. These ads talk very much about that.”
Two 30-second ads, which broke last week on national television, and three radio spots target 23-to-35-year-old men. Media spending, which sources estimate at $15 million, is split evenly between TV and radio. Ads retain the aspirational thrust of the previous “All in due time” campaign from Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.
One spot, “Destiny,” opens in black and white and is shot from the interior of a car traveling along a desolate country road. “As you get closer, your eyes get wider. Your heart beats faster,” a male voiceover says over a musical backdrop. As the car rounds a curve, a big-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 cuts to a long pour shot of the amber beverage: “Those who pass deserve a great beer. Sam Adams. It’s what’s inside.”
Boston Beer, which is de-emphasizing line extensions such as Oregon Ale, reported a 7 percent drop in third-quarter sales volume.
It said October and November shipments will be 5 percent below last year.
The campaign is McCann’s first since it won the account in an August creative shootout with Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston. It follows several misfires by the client on the television ad front.
Koch laughed about some of the company’s previous miscues: “If you brew a bad batch, you can drink your mistakes. In advertising, you really suck it up in another way.”