If you are a brand that is positioned in the premium segment, every aspect of consumer experience and communication has to be at an appropriate level, in keeping with high standards of the profession
These days, Belgrade resembles any other capital city in the world since it is a location where an advertisement with a global reach is being filmed.
We have talked with Nikola Maravić from Carlsberg about the new global communication campaign for premium beer 1664 Blanc. He says:” A rarity is that Vincent Gapaillard is the campaign’s photographer. This is a photographer that has been working with the globally renowned fashion brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and others. It is not uncommon for a photographer of his calibre to work on a beer brand commercial, which shows how much Carlsberg is investing in the aesthetics of this advertisement. The renowned Wolfberg Prague team was selected to direct the ad. As a member of the team leading the project, I am especially glad that such an important campaign for the world’s largest markets, such as Canada, China, Russia and South Korea, is being filmed in the country I come from.”
A global ad campaign for premium beer 1664 Blanc is being filmed in Belgrade these days. It is a rarity in the marketing industry for an ad for a global brand to be filmed in Serbia. Could you tell us a bit more about the global aspect of this campaign and why Belgrade was chosen?
In collaboration with our business partners, we have selected a location that meets both logistical and creative standards for the new global campaign of the Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc brand. We made the decision based on several important factors. First of all, Belgrade is already recognized on the international production scene as a place that offers quick and easy access to talented actors, professionals and staff who closely follow the production of marketing communication materials. Our partner production company has a very positive experience and is happy to recommend Belgrade as a filming destination. Geographical accessibility, good organization and experience of the local production team, as well as the Serbian capital having a competitive filming offer have all contributed to Belgrade taking precedence over many other, over many other cities.
“We are embarking on a new stage in the development of the brand, based on the new communication platform “Good Taste with a Twist”
Could you tell us more about the campaign team? You have a fashion photographer who has worked with the biggest fashion brands, as well as a directing team that has a unique visual style. How important is for Carlsberg to invest in aesthetics and photography, and to raise the bar when it comes to marketing activities?
With this campaign, we are embarking on a new stage in the development of the brand, based on the new communication platform “Good Taste with a Twist”. Combining our elegant and playful tone with a contemporary look at French style and heritage, Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc will be communicating with consumers in a rather unexpected yet sophisticated way.
The filming of the new global campaign brought together renowned experts and creatives from a number of fields. The renowned British agency, Fold7 is responsible for the creative solutions, while Stink Films from Prague is in charge of the production, with the professional support of the team from the Belgrade-based studio Tuna Fish. The famous Wolfberg duo from the Czech Republic, consisting of Jan Kalvoda and Premysl Ponahly, were chosen as directors. Given the complexity of creative and aesthetic expression, we decided to collaborate with eminent French photographer Vincent Gapaillard, whose experience with the world’s largest fashion brands plays an important role in creating a new style of brand communication. If you are a brand that is positioned in the premium segment, every aspect of consumer experience and communication has to be at an appropriate level, in keeping with high standards of the profession. As you have nicely noticed, our intention is to raise the bar and point out to new ways a beer brand can talk to consumers.
How much is the beer market affected by the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic? Has the beer industry experienced a crisis at all?
Like many other companies, we, at Carlsberg, have been carefully monitoring and analyzing the changes in the world as a result of the pandemic. The marketing plans we are working on require flexibility, the development of alternative scenarios and, most importantly, the revision of plans now more often than ever. Given the responsibility for global growth and brand development, listening intently to the market and responding in a timely manner through innovation will be even more important. In this regard, I would like to highlight the expansion of new sales channels such as e-commerce, which has been rapidly growing since the outbreak, as well as the growing popularity of alcohol-free and low-alcohol products. Marketing will, as always, adapt to these and other trends and it is up to us to always be close to the market through ongoing and relevant communication with consumers and customers.
“The marketing plans we are working on require flexibility, the development of alternative scenarios and, most importantly, the revision of plans now more often than ever”
What are the global tendencies in the beer industry? What can we expect in terms of new brands, new tastes and further development?
Craft and speciality beers have gained in popularity in the last ten years. The trend that emerged in the United States at the end of the first decade of the 21st century has spread to the whole of Europe and is increasingly present in Asia. The market for craft and speciality beers continues to grow, given that consumers are looking for an authentic beer consumption experience. Consumers in larger cities have access to types of beer and combinations of flavours that we couldn’t even imagine just a few years ago. Although the segment is still relatively small, the growth rate in many markets is in double digits. The global success of the brand I run is partly explained by the growing popularity of speciality brews and wheat beer segment in an increasing number of markets.
The situation is similar in the alcohol-free beer segment, which has been formed only recently. Worldwide, growth rates are double-digit, driven by people’s growing desire to lead a healthier lifestyle, especially younger adult consumers. Thus, we are witnessing the proliferation of alcohol-free beers that are often reminiscent of craft beers, having in mind the production process and the ingredients that are combined to create an authentic taste. An increasing number of market players recognize this trend and we can only expect an even better and higher quality offer. As far as Serbia is concerned, the segment is still in its early development stage, but I expect changes in the medium term. The beer market never sleeps, the changes are constant and make the product itself and the consumption experience get better over time.
Finally, we can see that, in the context of new circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there is a rapid growth of e-commerce. Development and proper implementation of assets that are tailored to this sales channel will be increasingly important for successful positioning in the globally leading markets
You are originally from Serbia, and you have been working in Denmark for years, from where you cover several markets. What did you use from the experience gained in Serbia, and what can all of us, in Serbia, learn from Danish or European businesses for that matter?
Serbia is my homeland. I spent one of the most beautiful years growing up and going to school in my native Ruma and then in Belgrade. Working for international companies in Serbia, Great Britain, Romania and Denmark has given me opportunities for accelerated growth and development. I am surrounded by people from all over the world, and my results often depend on people I see online or who I don’t even know. On the other hand, I have easy access to the best talent and professionals, as well as financial resources for large, global projects that can impact the lives of a significant number of people. Large systems teach you how to be focused, efficient and adaptable to constant change. In this way, you gain resilience and experience that you can use in other areas of life and facilitate your personal development.
Living and working in Denmark teaches you punctuality, precision and efficiency, and I would especially like to single out the communication style whereby listening and respecting other people’s often different opinions is considered quite important. In Denmark, culture can be described by these three aspects of Danish life: simplicity, politeness, and equality. Serbia is known for high standards of service and great talents who are committed and extremely valuable in fair business conditions. Finally, let’s not forget our playful temperament, which makes the work atmosphere more engaging and relaxed. I often miss that in the far North.
Last but not least, when can we expect to see the premiere of the ad filmed in our city? Are you going to launch the campaign here, in Serbia, first or simultaneously in other countries too? Are you proud of Belgrade being picked up for filming the ad?
The ad was filmed in a great atmosphere, thanks to the teamwork of professionals from London, Paris, Copenhagen, Prague and Belgrade. We will do post-production in Paris and Prague in the coming weeks, and the idea is to start airing our new campaign from August. As a member of the team leading the project, I am especially glad that such an important campaign for the world’s largest markets such as Canada, China, Russia and South Korea is being filmed in the country I come from and, moreover, in a city that will forever be my home. I think this is a great opportunity to showcase the quality of local talents and the opportunities this destination offers for various brands and product categories.