Best B2C Marketing Initiative 2022

Steinlager enters the gaming world with the Alt Blacks to win over new or lapsed audiences for LION with unexpected, outside-the-box thinking

Reinvigorating a legacy partnership

People drink less in winter and July-August is a difficult time for beer marketers, with the category seeing a decline in both volume and value sales. In addition, younger people are drinking less due to health and wellbeing factors. 

Steinlager’s brand promise is based around pride and championing true greatness, but the marketing team decided to bring this greatness down to everyday people, showcasing the brand as a new kind of ‘Hero’, full of courage and character.

Despite the fact that rugby is integral to the Steinlager brand, there was a need to meet a younger market in its preferred environment. The answer lay in e-Sports, the world’s fastest growing sport, that now has a growing legitimacy. This was Steinlager’s chance to get in the game of the future with the drinkers of tomorrow. 

Partnering with the developers of Rugby Challenge, Steinlager entered the gaming world and introduced the ‘Alt Blacks’ to New Zealand, an alternative version of the ABs, which gave regular Steinlager-drinking Kiwis the chance to earn selection, pull on a black jersey, and take on South Africa in a test match in front of millions of fans. 

The recruitment drive kicked off with a 30 second TVC featuring All Blacks Damian McKenzie, Akira Ioane, Reiko Ioane, Patrick Tuipulotu, and Brad Weber, as well as a social media drive, to tell people that with Steinlager, anyone, regardless of stature, speed, or hand-eye coordination, had the chance to wear the black jersey. 

Over 20,000 people engaged with the campaign and 23 Kiwis were selected, to represent the Alt Blacks. A special Alt Blacks kit, including jersey, shorts and socks was designed and added to the game. 

To announce the team, Steinlager came out of the blocks with a social video starring Sir Graham Henry. This was supported with street posters and OOH starring the 23 individual Alt Blacks in their own area, to make local heroes of each of them. 

This culminated in a one-off test match between world champions South Africa and the Alt Blacks. 

Getting the right talent on board made it easier to drive earned media, so a professional e-Sports gamer XenoJay was enlisted to play as South Africa, and injured All Black, Jack Goodhue, represented the Alt Blacks. 

The game was played right before the ‘real’ test match between South Africa and the All Blacks – putting Steinlager’s team on the biggest stage right next to their heroes. 

The Alt Blacks team won 7 to nil against South Africa, with the big game live streamed on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and a replay was played on SKY Sports the following day and showcased on Steinlager social channels.

A New Zealand audience record was set for a virtual rugby match with 75,000 sports fans watching the stream. The decline in Steinlager’s overall awareness was reversed with a 2-point increase. Most importantly, the campaign led to a new generation of drinkers seeing Steinlager as a relevant brand for them.  

Best B2C Marketing Initiative



Marketing Initiative

Steinlager Alt Blacks

Marketing Partner

NZ Rugby/ All Blacks; DDB; Mango; Mediacom

Judges’ Comments

“The idea of courage and bravery for a short-term campaign targeting a consumer set that was different to its foundation and complexity, risk and creativity is why we have chosen this entry. There use of ROI was a standout, as was the commercial outcomes in this category.”


Contact Energy; J.H. Whittaker & Sons; Lumino The Dentists; Sky Television New Zealand; Slingshot; Spark NZ; Z Energy

This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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