“Long Live the Keg” by Carlton Draught

Carlton Draught have come up with a cracker of an advert called "Long Live the Keg". Here I analyse why they are onto a winner.

At a time that marks the incoming new King in Britain, the Aussies have come out with a campaign to be proud of, with the latest ad from Carlton Draught called ‘Long live the keg’. The ad is embellished with a unique Aussie sense of humour that you can’t help but think nods to the royal occasion.

According to Nicole McMillan, General Manager of Marketing at Carlton & United Breweries, “Carlton Draught is Australia’s most iconic and loved beer. It’s a true reflection of Aussie culture – always laughing and not taking yourself too seriously.”

I absolutely love it. Picture the scene; you’re in your local and order your favourite draught, only to be told your keg is dead! Panic, shock and horror go through your mind as you don’t know what to order!

And then… roll in the drums, the bagpipes and the choir to ceremoniously wheel out the old and bring in the new. Finally, the problem is solved, and all is well that ends. “Long live the Keg”.

Ah, it’s over the top, it’s funny, and honestly, you can’t quite grasp what you are watching, given its melodramatic nature. But yet it’s advertising genius.

In a world where 85% of adverts are forgotten and do not reach viewability of over 2.5 seconds, this advert grabs your attention quite like no other. It intrigues you, puts a smile on your face, and, importantly, places a small nugget of musical waxes lyrical in your brain, “The keg is dead; long live the keg”. I will remember that when I’m standing in the pub at the weekend.

To investigate further, I contacted the wonderful folks at Clemenger BBDO to get their take.

Brand Heritage and its role in Distinctiveness

The first thing shining through was the need to showcase brand heritage.

They said,

“Our proud tradition of brewery-fresh beer dates back to 1864 when the first batch of Carlton was delivered to pubs by the same Clydesdales that grace our taps today. This ad is for everyone who cherishes the pub, and we want it to help get people back to their local. Pubs are in our DNA, and we’re proud to support them.”

This is incredibly important in creating a level of distinction between Carlton and over draughts over there.

There was an excellent quote from Dave Trott which brings this to life

The Carlton Consumer

The second is to understand the Carlton consumer truly. They said,

“Carlton Draught audiences are increasingly more sophisticated and cynical than ever before; however, they still love a laugh and appreciate moments of levity.  From Carlton Draught, they expect to be entertained but in an inclusive way that does not put others down for the joke’s sake. Carlton Draught is a true reflection of Aussie Culture and doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

I love this insight about the Carlton consumer, as it’s rich in nuance. Several elements play into the psyche; sophisticated, cynical, laugh, inclusive, don’t put others down and don’t be taken too seriously.

You can see a cocktail of all of these mixed together in the creative to bring together something that would resonate to a tee.

Cultural relevance

Thirdly, cultural relevance is high on the agenda.

Is it a coincidence that this is the year of the Coronation? I would hazard a guess and say not. But what is brilliant is that this advert chimes to the occasion without being explicit. It is also done in a genuinely Aussie style and sense of humour.

The advert also stayed true to the consumer sentiment and carefully walked the line to avoid offending anyone whilst being an authentic and fun piece of creative.

Emotion and Storytelling

Fourthly, emotion and storytelling sit at the centre of the strategic approach:

Audiences like to be entertained or moved in some way.  We are emotional beings.

We believe audiences connect with the Carlton Draught approach to laugh at the pomp and ceremony around us and to be reminded of how good it is to communicate with mates in their local pubs.

This is a critical point when you look at research on what creates an emotional connection.

For example, research from Kantar shows us that one of the most significant factors in creating dynamic connectivity is being funny or humorous. Clemenger BBDO certainly latched on to that and brought it to life.

A brand platform; Made from Beer

Fifthly, creating an enduring brand platform is very important to them, as seen through their “Made from Beer” banner. They commented;

“Longevity is only possible if platforms, like Made From Beer are grounded in universal human truths.  If a platform is built on novelty, it will not endure. It will have a use-by date.  It might be good for getting noticed but won’t stand the test of time.  The key ingredient is understanding what is going on with your audience meaningfully and emotionally. 

The value to the business is immense – when audiences recognise your brand immediately and connect with your stories, you have the best opportunity to be thought of in the buying situation.  For Carlton Draught, that’s ordering a cold one at the pub or being top of mind when someone is in a retail outlet and buying for home consumption.”


I summarise that this advert stands above the crowd and will be remembered—salute to you, Carlton Draught, and the Clemenger BBDO team.

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