Newcastle Brown Ale is going interactive, adding a series of CDs to its 12-packs.
The series of three bottle-cap-shaped mini CDs includes the music of emerging rock bands, footage of extreme skiing and snowboarding, interactive games, interviews and downloads. The CDs pair: alt-rockers Everybody Else with pro rider Steve Fisher; Chicago rock bank Kill Hannah with pro rider Per Loken; and alt-rock and R&B group Under the Influence of Giants with pro freestyle skier Jon Olsson.
“It’s a real tight fit for our targeted demographic,” said Bill Wetmore, customer marketing director for Newcastle Brown Ale, Cleveland, OH. “They like extreme sports and are very much independent spirits.”
About 150,000 CDs are being used for the promotion, which hits store shelves this week.
“A CD-ROM that has a lot of fun, rich content seemed to hit a lot of the buttons with our consumer,” Wetmore said.
A supporting sweeps at NewCastleBrown.com dangles Newcastle-branded snowboard gear and a trip to the Winter X Games in January, through a partnership with sports equipment manufacturer Head. Each CD also includes material on a Head-sponsored Winter X Games athlete. The sweeps ends Nov. 30. In-store P-O-P supports.
The effort is part of a yearlong $15 million marketing campaign that taps music and sports under an umbrella theme.
An eight-month sampling effort to recruit new customers is underway. Ale Blazer teams are hitting on-premise locations in 25 markets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights where teams of two women and one man run promotions and sampling. Games are played that dangle T-shirts, hats and beads as well as MP3 players via a partnership with Napster.
Last January and February, promotions in grocery store chains focused on the snowboarding season with Newcastle-branded snowboards as prizes in some markets.
“Both events are quite complementary to what we’re doing right now,” Wetmore said.
In July, The Best of Both Worlds sweeps kicked off featuring one prize “that gets you into trouble and one prize that gets you out of trouble.” The sweeps dangled a grand prize of a home entertainment and stadium-style catering for up to 20 people at the winner’s home during the 2007 Super Bowl. And once the party’s over, a $250 gift card will deliver a local cleaning service to spruce things up. In addition, the winner and his or her significant other receive a five-day, four-night trip to Beverly Hills and $2,500 in spending money. The sweeps just ended.
And over the summer, the brew debuted a new look, redesigning its label and packaging materials to improve recognition and visibility at shelf. The new look includes the traditional blue star, which has been enlarged in 3-D, as well as four legends pertaining to the beer on the back label.
Marketing efforts appear to be paying off. Year-to-date sales have grown 11% versus last year, with strong growth (up 38% on 12-packs) in the grocery chain sector for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 10. The brand has risen to the No. 9 import overall for case sales and No. 7 for dollar sales, according to Information Resources, Inc.