Sales & Marketing

If Carlsberg did billboards, they'd dispense free beer – Oh wait, they have

5 min read

10 April 2015

Danish brewer Carlsberg has taken its marketing efforts to new heights by installing a billboard that includes a physical beer tap, building on its "If Carlsberg did" tagline.

First launched in the 1970s, the “World According To Carlsberg” campaign, summarised by the tagline of “If Carlsberg did”, was an evolution of probably the best lager advertising in the world. Needless to say, Carlsberg has a history of memorable advertising, and it managed gain worldwide attention by recently creating a billboard dispensing free beer. 

We’ve seen “how Carlsberg would do” nightclubs, banks, weddings, holidays, flatmates and even agents.

Nic Owen, managing director of 72 and Sunny Amsterdam commented: “If Carlsberg did… was a meme before meme’s existed and has remained as key internet parlance. We’re super excited about making the most of it in a day and age it’s perfectly suited for.”

After being revamped for what the brand deemed younger, trendier drinkers after a four year hiatus, it’s most recent TV advert focused on a “Carlsberg supermarket” and looked to appeal to a wider audience rather than the typical male lager drinker. 

Carlsberg UK estimated that by its second day on TV, their “probably the best supermarket in the world” advert had been viewed at least once by 22 per cent of all UK adults.

But what if the company did posters? Shoreditch residents and people passing by soon found out. 

Continuing the meme, the advert delivers a unique take on a traditional poster to demonstrate the brand’s desire to be the best. Fold7, who are bringing the iconic phrase back to life, have aimed to bring the brand to life in a fun and engaging way.

Read more about experimental marketing campaigns:

Ryan Newey, Fold 7 founder, said: “‘If Carlsberg did’ is an iconic property. Our challenge was to take something that is already so well known and bring it to life in a way that will engage today’s consumer. 

“Our ambition was to create the world’s best poster, and one that serves beer could certainly fit the bill.”

Carlsberg erected a poster in Shoreditch that dispensed free beer, kicking off a monthly series of stunts to prove that it does experiential marketing better than its competitors. 

Drinkers were all too happy to help themselves to the free booze.

Dharmesh Rana, senior brand manager, said: “Through new television ads and wider marketing campaigns we will begin to dial up the brand’s authenticity and heritage credentials which date back to our brewing founder J. C. Jacobson in Copenhagen. It’s the biggest investment in the brand in recent years, and by targeting programmes including Broadchurch, Rude Tube and The Last Leg, we’re reaching a much broader audience than ever before and re-capturing the imagination of consumers.

“But we want to get the Carlsberg brand in front of as many beer drinkers as possible. To do this, we have to think differently with our approach and can’t just rely on great TV advertising. We have a pipeline of ideas that Carlsberg drinkers and new drinkers to the brand will see and hopefully in the long-term start drinking the beer.

“Complementing [the work we do on TV] will be a number of stunts like the poster that will happen all the way through until the end of the year. We’ll pick off key social events and potentially they’ll be things around the big trading months.”

It’s not the first time Carlsberg have put “best” to the test. In 2013 it ran a prank where the brand tricked people into rescuing their friends from a gambling den.