Fosters Gold – the perils of premium line extensions

A few weeks ago I posted on Tropicana's not very premium Premium line extension.

Now Fosters beer are up to the same game with Fosters Gold: "4.8% Premium Lager". This is another example of how mainstream brands struggle to credibly do premium line extensions.

Fosters Gold is premium when seen from a Fosters' world-view. The bottles are more expensive and look more premium than the bog standard Fosters cans you find in supermarkets:

But this is looking at the brand extension "through the wrong end of the telescope". Turn the telescope round, look at it from a consumer view, and suddenly its not that premium at all:

– Pricing: Fosters Gold pricing is still well below what true premium beers like Heineken (who brew FOsters in the UK) and Peroni charge

– Product: 4.8% alcohol is more than Fosters at 4.0% but, again, still below true premium beers which are 5.0%

– Pack: looks very close to the normal Fosters in terms of graphics. Take away the word "Gold" and you would struggle to see it as a premium beer

– Personality: Fosters is just not a premium brand. The latest ad campaign features Brad and Dan, a couple of entertaining surf dudes giving out advice from their shack on the beach in Oz.


The problem of trying to be something you're not is shown by the Fosters Gold launch ad. Brad and Dan sell it as a "smart casual" beer. In other words, stuck in no man's land between mainstream beer (casual) and true premium (smart).

If you want a premium beer there are a host of great options, such as Peroni, Grolsch, San Miguel, Corona, Becks, Tiger etc. etc. etc. What value is Fosters Gold adding versus all these options?

I guess it could be a sort-of-premium-but-not-too-premium bottled beer? By selling 300ml bottles instead of the usual 330ml bottles, Fosters Gold can sell a 6-pack for £5.50 versus, for example, a 4-pack of Peroni for £5.11.

But if I'm in the mood for a premium beer, I'm not bothered about a pound here or there.

In conclusion, if you're looking at a premium extension of a mainstream brand, think carefully about whether its a smart idea. And to once more draw on the immortal words of pop group Wham: "If you're gonna do it, do it right". Add true value in a distinctive way to support a significant price premium.