Foster’s Fresh consistency delivers rocket-fuelled ROI

Foster's lager and their agency Adam & Eve DDB won the Grand Prix at The IPA Effectiveness Awards this week. Importantly, these awards are about selling more stuff, not just creativity. And boy did Foster's "Good Call" campaign sell more stuff. The campaign, featuring Brad and Dan as agony uncles advising men on their problems, achieved the highest estimated ROI of any beer campaign in the awards' 34-year history. Every £1 of advertising drove a mind-boggling £32 in revenue, moving Foster’s from third to first place in the off-trade lager market, as reported here.

An example from 2012 is below if you click on the blog, or here.

And for another from 2014, click below or see here

There are several interesting take-outs from this incredibly successful campaign.

1. Consistency creates memory structure

The Good Call campaign shows the power of consistency to create "memory structure": hard-wired associations that help trigger recall of the brand. Since the campaign started in 2011, a series of brand properties have been created and amplified:

– Australian Beach setting with the Foster's hut

– Brad and Dan characters

– Narrative structure of each commercial: phone call from UK (e.g. "Ben from Southend")=> Brand & Dan answer in the Aussie beach hut a "g'day" =>  they offer a solution

– "Good Call" endline

– Style of humour and jokes 

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 16.24.28
Our recent IcAT (Iconic Asset Tracker) study on beer demonstrates how effective Fosters has been at creating memory structure (see below). The Fosters slogan ("Good Call") and characters (Brad & Dan) are the strongest performing brand properties in the UK beer market, with a c. 70% activation score (% of people correctly recalling the brand when seeing a brand property for a split second). Carling scores lower, as does Stella Artois. Lowest of all is Heineken, with activation of their global slogan ("Open your world") and characters from their recent Odyssey campaign much lower. Stella and Heineken have, in contrast to Fosters, used multiple campaigns and brand properties, creating much less memory structure as a result. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 12.20.10
2. Keep it fresh

Adam & Eve DDB deserve a huge amount of credit for the creative genius in keeping the campaign fresh for four years. Each new "chapter" of the Good Call story keeps consistency through use of the brand properties above, but brings a new problem for Brand & Dan to solve. Rather than getting bored, I suggest viewers look forward to the next chapter in the story, in the same way fans watched nine series of Friends.

3. Amplify across the mix

Interestingly, in this era of social media hysteria, the Good Call campaign was "TV-led", showing that this medium still has a leading role to play.

The brand and agency have also been smart in amplifying the Good Call properties beyond TV into other parts of the mix. They create the "Summer of Good Calls" as an umbrella concept for promotional items, leveraging the Aussie beach properties with ideas like the Boom Box Cooler below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 12.03.21
The "Good Call Centre" digital campaign allowed people to share online a friend's problem (dress sense, manners, personal hygiene etc.). Brad & Dan, helped by the Good Call Centre girls, would then create a personalised message to share on your friend's Facebook page. The smart thing here is how the digital campaign amplified the brand idea and properties, further reinforcing the brand's memory structure. More on the Good Call Centre here.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 12.05.25
4. Portfolio focus

The campaign property of Brad & Dan has been used to drive growth on the core lager business, but also to launch two range extensions: Radler (lager & cloudy lemonade) and Gold (premium 4.8% lager). In this way, these new products leverage and reinforce the brand's key properties and avoid brand fragmentation from each new product having a totally separate campaign.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 23.10.17
In conclusion, Foster's and Adam & Eve DDB have demonstrated with the Good Call campaign the power of fresh consistency, and the enduring power of good old fashioned TV advertising.