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Beer producers agonize over marketing in ‘beer season’

Beer producers agonize over marketing in ‘beer season’

Posted April. 29, 2014 05:20,   


Amid the prevailing mood of mourning in the Korean society after the tragic ferry accident, beer makers are agonizing over the right time to resume promotion of their products. “Beer season” has come with more people enjoying outdoor activities amid warm spring weather, but beer suppliers have cancelled or put off all promotion schedules at present. The liquor industry fears that it could lose sales opportunities at the peak demand season, ranging from all different festivals in May to the World Cup soccer finals in Brazil in June.

Oriental Brewery has decided to completely cancel its TV commercial on the “Cass” beer, which the company suspended in the wake of the tragic accident, after airing the advertisement for about two weeks from late March. The company has decided not to air even in the future. The advertisement entitled “Sliding” deploys special effects to present images in which the world lists as actor Ji Chang-wook drinks the beer by tilting his glass.

However, the company immediately halted airing of the ad due to concern that the scene could remind people of the ferry Sewol. A source at Oriental Brewery said, “We planned to use the ad until end-May, but we can no longer use it because the images coincidently overlap with those of the ferry’s sinking.”

Oriental Brewery is anxious because even though the Cass has became the official sponsor of the World Cup in Brazil as Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer producer, took over OB early this month, it may lose this opportunity to promote its beers. A company source said, “We will start marketing activities including advertising during the World Cup period, but we are cautious about everything.”

Hite Jinro is agonizing over its "President Beer" campaign, which it conducted for nearly two months. The campaign was organized as an event in which actor Ha Jeong-woo and singer G Dragon promote the company’s the “Max” and “Dry d” beers, and invite consumers to vote for their choices online and offline. The company originally planned to conclude vote on Monday, send giveaways to participants and offer discount to consumers for the winning brand, but it put the event on hold for now.

A source at Hite Jinro said, “We cannot afford to decide whether to end the event in low profile, or conduct and conclude the planned event later.” The firm is also concerned about promotion of the “New Hite” that was launched into market one month ago. By significantly changing flavor and package design from the previous Hite product, Hite Jinro produced advertisement featuring actor Hyun Bin, but has suspended commercial advertising on it.

After entering the beer market for the first time, Lotte Liquor cannot advertise its new brand. On Tuesday last week, Lotte launched in low key “Cloud,” a new product that was developed with an ambitious plan. Lotte cancelled all marketing activities on the product. It has yet to determine timing to run an advertising campaign featuring top actress Jun Ji-hyun. A company source said, “We wanted to increase awareness of our brand by staging a massive marketing events in the early days after the launch, but we have put off all plans amid the mood of condolences.”

Liquor suppliers are agonizing over the time to resume their PR campaigns, and wary of rivals’ moves. They had been preparing diverse promotion tools after racing to introduce new products to make the most of "special demand" during the World Cup in June and the Asian Games in Incheon in September.

A source in the liquor industry said, “We don’t worry about short-term decline in sales, but are concerned that our company will lose in the brand competition among the rivals.”