Jacob's Creek fights for beer's 'share of throat' at cricket

Jacob’s Creek is the latest drinks brand to position itself as an alternative to beer with a new campaign encouraging Australian beer drinkers to switch their usual habits to wine while watching cricket.

The ‘Call Stumps on Beer’, featuring former cricketer Brett Lee, follows the long-running ‘Over Beer?’ campaign, that launched with another cricketer David Boon.

When the Canadian Club campaign launched Boon, who urban legend has attributed with drinking 52 cans of beer on a flight to London, was quoted as saying he still enjoyed beer.

“I still enjoy a beer every now and then, but more often I’m finding it isn’t the refreshing drink I was after. My taste buds have definitely got more refined over the years, and I felt it was time for a change.”

In the latest swipe at beer, Lee also swipes Boon’s lines.

“Whilst I support having a cold beer whilst watching the cricket, when you’re ready to switch nothing beats a beautiful glass of Australian wine. Jacob’s Creek has something for every taste. It’s time to Call Stumps on Beer, friends!”

Lee, who was recently announced as a Jacob’s Creek Ambassador, pitched wine as a more mature drink.

“When you become of drinking age in Australia, generally, wine isn’t first on the list, but as you get older and more mature with your tastebuds, you enjoy sitting down and having a nice glass of wine,” he said.

Lee’s appointment as a Jacob’s Creek ambassador followed the Pernod Ricard-owned brand partnering with the International Cricket Council as its official wine partner for events till 2023.

Beer, which had long been viewed as Australia’s national alcoholic drink, has increasingly been a target for competing alcohol categories as consumer tastes evolve away from the bitter character of traditional mainstream beers. Without the stereotyped cultural pressure on young men, in particular, to adopt beer as their adult beverage of choice, competing products have increasingly seen opportunities to target these changing tastes.

Beer has also faced an increasing image problem as being a product out of touch with contemporary Australian identity, identified even by the brewing industry as being seen as blokey, unhealthy and boring. This negative perception, to some extent created by beer marketers, hasn’t prevented those same marketers from pitching their low-carb and near-beer offerings as being “better for you” than beer.

In response to the recognition that beer faced challenges, the Brewers Association in 2014 announced a plan to bust myths and negative perceptions associated with the beer category and return mainstream beer to growth.

The initiatives were reportedly aimed at creating a “vibrant beer culture” in Australia and planned to involve the association’s members. The united campaign never eventuated, with Lion instead going alone with its Beer: The Beautiful Truth campaign, an approach compromised by its need to conform more to Lion’s own brand marketing goals than meaningfully confronting consumer perceptions.

Even Lion’s then managing director James Brindley acknowledged that any improvement in the public perception was at best slight as a result of the campaign.

The Jacob’s Creek campaign was created by FLARE, whose head of social & content, Lewis Steele, said the campaign came as a result of wine being seen as a drink increasingly relevant to a wider array of occasions.

“Becoming a sponsor of the International Cricket Council was an unexpected move for Jacob’s Creek, but a welcome one as wine continues to become the go-to drink for even more occasions,” he said.”

“It was the perfect opportunity to have a bit of fun with the campaign launch, with a client who is always up for doing interesting work.”

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