THE ALTITUDE BREW

Short List
TitleTHE ALTITUDE BREW
ClientCATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS
Product / ServiceBETSY BEER
CategoryF03. Brand Communication
EntrantMcCANN HONG KONG, HONG KONG
Idea Creation McCANN HONG KONG, HONG KONG
Media Placement McCANN HONG KONG, HONG KONG
PR McCANN HONG KONG, HONG KONG
Production McCANN HONG KONG, HONG KONG

The Campaign

When we fly, cabin pressure and altitude can ruin the taste of food and drink. Some airlines adapt food to this environment. But not the world’s favourite alcoholic beverage. So we created the world’s first ever beer scientifically crafted to taste best at 35,000 feet. We fused aviation science with a reinvented brewing process to combat the effects flying has on our sense of taste. And we named it “Betsy Beer” after Cathay Pacific’s iconic first aircraft, a 1946 Douglas DC-3.

Creative Execution

To embody the spirit of “Travelling Well”, this product had to truly heighten the Cathay Pacific experience for beer-lovers. So first we researched the science of a cabin. Engine noise, cabin pressure and humidity combine to dull our palate by up to 30%. We worked with brewing experts to increase carbonation 10% higher than sea level beers for increased mouthfeel. We made it a wheat beer to reduce bitterness. We enhanced flavour by making it an unfiltered beer. And by keeping the yeast unfiltered, we retained high levels of Vitamin B, known for restorative properties. We put travel into Betsy’s DNA by marrying flavours from our home Hong Kong (Dragon fruit and honey) and our launch route the UK (Fuggle hops). Finally we crafted a unique visual identity for Betsy that celebrates Cathay’s brand heritage and core brand colour palette, and fused traditional Chinese design with a craft beer ethos.

Indication of how successful the outcome was in the market

Since the launch batch of 4,800, over 90,000 bottles have been brewed to meet sky-high demand. Our small budget garnered $104 million earned media as the world’s first altitude brew amassed attention from worldwide press — reaching a total audience of 621 million, and counting! Betsy Beer saw a 97x return on ad spend, and attributed to 24% revenue growth on UK routes (Business Class sales, Mar 2017 vs Mar 2016). 83% of customers said Betsy differentiated the Cathay experience and 74% said it enhanced the Cathay Pacific experience (n=2200, passenger survey). Its success has meant Cathay plans to roll Betsy out on other key routes including Australia, Japan, Canada, and the US — helping beer loving passengers worldwide travel better than ever.

Cathay Pacific believes in living “Life Well Travelled”. So they strive for new ways to help every passenger travel as well as possible. Even beer lovers! Craft ale has grown massively in popularity in recent years, especially amongst well-travelled 30-45 year olds – Cathay’s core front-end audience. As an innovation designed to help these travellers “travel well”, the strategy was to get Betsy into the hands of an influential niche segment of this demographic. Betsy went direct to consumers at invite-only launch events in Cathay airport lounges in HK and UK, and in the air on 43 weekly flights between HK and UK. We also sent specially designed Betsy packs direct to influential travel and beer bloggers, restaurateurs and the HK Craft Beer Association who organically spread the story. Organic storytelling was backed by programmatically targeted online media, with a series of short films explaining the design and craft process.

Credits

Name Company Position
Martin Lever McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Executive Creative Director
Guilherme Pecego McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Creative Director
Dan Jacques McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Associate Creative Director
Ping, Wai Wong McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Art Director
Brandon Cheung McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Managing Partner
Julia Broughton McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Group Account Director
Julian Egli McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Account Manager
Jules O'Brien McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Junior Copywriter
Daniel Cheong McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Senior Art Director
Juvenia Poon McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Senior Chinese Copywriter
Mok, Ting Ngo McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Art Director
Adrienne Andaya McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Art Director
Aneeza Arshad McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Junior Art Director
George Cheung McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Visualiser
Rick Kwan McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Creative Director
Fanny Lau McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Associate Creative Director
Yvonne Cheng McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Junior Chinese Copywriter
Leo Pang McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Senior Account Executive
Karen Chan McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Planning Director
Prashant Galani McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Digital Manager
Kwoksum Pun MRM//McCann Hong Kong Senior Developer
Kat Pau McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Creative Services Manager
Doris Law McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Project Executive
Christopher Chiu McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong Studio Manager
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