The Iconic British Pub Is in Peril, and a Rousing Campaign Hopes to Keep the Pints Pouring

Three local gathering spots close each day

'Long Live the Local' hopes to generate grassroots support for lower taxes on pubs. Britain's Beer Alliance
Headshot of David Griner

Britain’s Beer Alliance has typically had a pretty cushy job: encouraging Brits to drink beer. But now the industry group is shifting its tone and rallying support behind a cause that will be near and dear to many in the U.K.: keeping local pubs alive.

With “Long Live the Local,” a wide-ranging advocacy campaign created by Havas London, the Beer Alliance is raising attention around the plight of pubs, where the trade group says one pound of each three spent by customers ends up going to taxes, such as VAT and beer duty. (Another group, the Campaign for Real Ale, has long been leading a similar charge, asking political candidates to pledge support for pubs and fighting for zoning protections that could keep pubs from being demolished or converted into housing.)

The Beer Alliance campaign estimates three local pubs close each day as owners face a variety of financial pressures. A new 90-second spot and a variety of other ad elements—most notably beer coasters, which are prime media placements for such a message—urge pub regulars to join the call for lower taxes by signing a petition.

The campaign will be supported with a 3 million pound (about $4 million) spend each year for the next three years.

“In light of the range of tax pressures pubs face, the number of precious institutions we have already lost forever, and the human impact of planned beer duty rises, we decided we needed a change in our approach and a new campaign,” says David Cunningham, program director for the British Beer Alliance.

It wouldn’t take much persuading to get most agencies excited about supporting local pubs, and sure enough, quite a few were involved in the campaign’s creation. In addition to Havas London’s creative, the campaign features media strategy from Havas Media, web design by Ekino, CRM work from Havas Helia, PR from One Green Bean, influencer outreach from Socialyse, out-of-home/print production from HKX Productions, film production from Stink Films, photography from LGA, and political insight and program development from Hanover.

“The pub—a bedrock of communities up and down the country—is under threat,” says Ben Mooge, executive creative director at Havas London. “The grassroots-style design of these posters and the universal, relatable scenes in the film capture the urgency and importance of this campaign. Coupled with all the other elements—a proper team effort on something so culturally important—it will be impossible to ignore.”

Check out many more elements from the campaign, along with credits, below:


Project name: Long Live the Local

David Cunningham, Programme Director, Britain’s Beer Alliance
Tom Price-Stephens, Marketing Lead, Britain’s Beer Alliance

Creative agency: Havas London
ECD: Ben Mooge
Copywriter: Alex Tizard
Art director: Jonathan Rands
Account team:
Xavier Rees (CEO)
Jennifer Black (Managing Partner)
Tom Trevelyan (Account Director)
Jahney Smith (Account Manager)
Content team: Josh Toogood
Agency producer (film): Adam Henderson
Assistant Agency producer (film): Natasha King
Agency producer (print/digital): Sarah Wells
CSO: Mark Sinnock
Planner: Ravi Matharu
Designer: Dan Scheers (Brand Guardian), Dan Davies (Junior Designer)

Media agency: Havas Media
Media planner:
Tess Hulme (Business Director)
Emma Gibbons (Account Director)
Graham Kenchington (Account Manager)

Production company: Stink Films
Executive Producer: Sophie Kluman
Producer: Jeremy Smith
Director: Tom Green
DoP: Noel Schoolderman
Editor: James Forbes-Robertson

Postproduction: Electric Theatre Collective
Soundtrack composer: Wake the Town/Theodore
Audio post-production: Sam Ashwell, 750

Photographer: Ewen Spencer
Photography Production Company: LGA

PR: One Green Bean
Web build: Ekino
CRM: Havas helia
Influencer marketing: Socialyse
OOH/Print production: HKX Productions

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."