Excellence in Fast Moving Consumer Goods Strategy

Lion’s iconic green bottle beer, Steinlager is a retail success with a long and proud legacy. But in order to maintain that legacy and continued success, the brand needed to appeal to the growth audience of those aged between 18-34. 

In with the new

Successful alcohol business Lion New Zealand understood that to stay successful long-term in the beer industry – often considered much like a battleground –  it needed to retain a large market share. 

Unlike Speight’s and Corona, Steinlager didn’t appeal to those between the ages of 18 to 34 as it understood its classic taste was “polarising” compared to the “refreshing” and “easy-drinking beer” of its competitors. 

Lion New Zealand understood that Steinlager had perceptions of being the drink for “dad’s”, creating a disconnect that was resulting in the beer losing relevancy. 

This prompted the brand to make a bold change to broaden its appeal to the targeted audience the company considered most likely to grow the business. 

So, how did Lion New Zealand do this?

Insights showed that the drinking behaviour for this demographic differ from the older generation. Drinking culture has moved towards a preference for lighter and easy drinking beer, as people aged between 18 to 34 are making more positive choices. 

Lighter beer options have quickly grown by 24 percent as it addresses concerns traditional beer held,
such as being high in carbs and calories. Even the iconic green bottle held “baggage” of being for an
older demographic.

Though it was a tough decision to let go of the bottle and colour that made the beer a heritage brand, Steinlager had to move towards a clear bottle. 

It also lowered the alcohol by volume (ABV) percent, making a new and easy liquid and taste profile with stronger messaging. Due to this, Steinlager launched a new distinctive sub-brand and product, Steinglager Ultra-Low-Carb. 

Steinlager as a brand also has strong ties with properties such as the All Blacks and Yachting, which don’t align with those between 18 to 34-year-olds in terms of interests. After research, Lion New Zealand knew it had to tap into relevant spaces such as music, live entertainment, art, fashion and social experiences to meet this demographic. 

Though it was a tough decision for Lion New Zealand to change its brand, it paid off in the end. 

Steinlager Ultra-Low Carb met results, being 78 percent ahead of budget. The brand wanted to be relevant to 18 to 34-year-olds by a five percent increase but instead saw a nine percent increase. 

The beer’s partnerships with brands like Six90, Rhythm & Vines and Huffer was able to drive its relevance even more, ensuring the brand was seen in the hands of the right people and is more likely to grab the attention of 18 to 34-year-olds. 

Steinlager was able to meet the lifestyles of this new generation of drinkers aged between 18 to 34. 

Excellence in Fast Moving Consumer Goods Strategy

Lion New Zealand

Marketing Initiative:
Steinlager – Breathing New Life Into An Old Icon

Marketing Partners:
DDB, Mediacom, Mango, Kantar, Huffer, Live Nation, Universal Music / Six60

Judges’ Comments:
Great example of a clear and considered opportunity to challenge the status quo, The strategy was executed well to market with excellent results. Lion have done well to breathe new life into an old icon.

CCEP, Epicurean Dairy, Farrimond, Silver Fern Farms, Tip Top Bakery

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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