Carlsberg Admits That Its Beer Blows

Although Carlsberg beer is largely an afterthought in the US, it’s has a substantial presence in the UK and in Europe.

But that presence has been declining over the years and now the company is taking a counter-intuitive approach to turning things around by admitting that its beer sucks…

It’s a ballsy strategy that speaks to just how competitive the beer biz has become today. And the need for big brewers to do something truly audacious in today’s world of multi-media overload, if you hope to stand out at all.

Disassembling its longstanding slogan “Probably the best beer in the world,” the Danish brewer has revamped it beer and launched an extensive campaign admits “Probably not the best beer in the world. So we’ve changed it.”

And the brewer is not playing it safe…

Carlsberg is giving its core brand a total facelift, changing everything from the beer’s recipe, to its packaging, it’s glassware, as well as its marketing… as it shifts its focus from “quantity to quality.”

Speaking with Marketing Week, Carlsberg UK Vice President of Marketing Liam Newton was adamant about the brand’s need to evolve in the eyes of the public…

“We want to change the way people think about Carlsberg. We’ve been saying we’re ‘probably the best beer in the world’ since 1973, the issue is recently we’ve not been living up to that. We started to focus on the wrong things and perhaps got preoccupied with being the biggest rather than the best. “

“When I see these brands like Foster’s, Carling and Carlsberg, I see them in an old man’s pub so that for me is a good example of the world moving on but this category not moving on; it feels a bit rusty, a bit dated. The quality of the beers here feel low-quality.”

In addition to its new taste and new eco-progressive packaging, Carlsberg’s rehabbed pilsner will also see its price rise…

Which may be as brave a move for the company as admitting to corporate hubris, doing a necessary product facelift in public, then championing it to the world and hoping that beer lovers will give it a second chance.

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