CategoryF02. Challenger Brand
Idea Creation H/COMMERCE Sydney, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Tom Hoskins h/commerce Executive Creative Director
Sionen Adijans h/commerce Art Director
Aaron McCann h/commerce Digital Designer
Simon Porter h/commerce Managing Director
Sarah Calver h/commerce Senior Account Manager
Adam Freedman Red Havas Practice Head
Janete Sampaio Red Havas Senior Account Manager
Laura Durand Red Havas Senior Account Executive
William Turner Red Havas Content Manager
Joseph Hong Red Havas Web Developer
Beau Simmons Havas Content Director
Anna Francis Havas Agency Producer
Aaron McCann h/commerce Creative / Digital Designer
William Turner Havas Blvd Content Manager
Joseph Hong Havas Blvd Web Developer
Ben Pride Havas Blvd Video Producer
Bob Seary Havas Blvd Photographer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

With the beer category extremely competitive across Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, we needed to create a campaign that generated talk-ability and mass awareness to take the brand from obscurity and create fame that would help cut through against a high volume of competitors. We needed to educate consumers about what the brand is and what it stands for, providing multiple reasons for consumers to buy the product. By inserting the brand into popular culture and the news agenda, we would help to elevate brand recall at points of purchase to support business objectives.


Sydney is a city renowned for its beer-drinking lifestyle. During summer, the city becomes the perfect backdrop for drinking in a cold one at any one of its many iconic outdoor venues. That said, the local beer market is controlled by just two major (multi-billion dollar) corporations, making it almost impossible for a small independent brewer with zero awareness to cut through. We needed an integrated brand experience campaign that would take on the beer behemoths, and ultimately make Sydney Beer Co. synonymous with the Sydney summer, influencing consumer decision-making at the ‘moment of truth’, the beer tap. The task before us was to increase sales and awareness of a beer no-one has heard of; in places everyone loves.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

‘It’s Sydney Time’ was a catch-cry aimed at capturing the audiences imagination during the key drinking period. But how could we get people embracing Sydney Time and champion a beer inspired by their own city? The answer? Recruit a specialist who would live and breathe the Sydney Time proposition and encourage others to follow suit. We launched a search to find someone to fill a world-first job position: a Chief-Clock-Off-Officer (CCOO). The CCOO was a fully-paid staff member who would embody the Sydney Time mantra. To continue the narrative, we created an additional motivation for drinkers to purchase SBC. With Sydney bracing itself for the hottest summer on record, our activity set out incentivise and reward consumers enjoying Sydney Time as summer temperatures rose. Introducing the SBC ‘Summer Price Index’, a mobile-led discount generator that worked on a simple premise: As the temperature went up, the beer price came down.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

Our target audience was beer drinkers aged 18-34, who enjoy socialising and getting outdoors. Within this audience we found two subsets; 1. The local Sydney drinker; who takes pride in their famous city. 2. The Sydney millennial; a consumer steadily drinking less beer Year-On-Year, but becoming more discerning about what they drink, where and when. With increasing restrictions around alcohol marketing, we explored non-traditional activities that would appeal to our audience. This meant our strategic approach had to embrace and advocate newer disruptive ways to interact with a brand. ‘It’s Sydney Time’ – a catch-cry to bring the brand’s positioning to life – became our strategic platform. To maximise exposure and increase engagement, we developed two phases for the campaign: Phase 1: Announce ‘It’s Sydney Time’ and pique interest and outline what SBC stands for. Phase 2: Engage beer lovers by providing them with a reason to celebrate ‘Sydney Time’.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

Phase 1 kicked off 6-weeks before summer, a recruitment drive for a new employment role at SBC Head Office: Chief-Clock-Off-Officer (CCOO), a new staff member to lead our ‘Sydney Time’ mantra by switching on ‘Out-Of-Office’ and visiting local venues talk business (grab a beer). The announcement kicked off with a consumer launch event at Sydney’s iconic Opera House, providing the perfect summer backdrop. Phase 2 continued the narrative. With Sydney bracing itself for the hottest summer on record, the SBC ‘Summer Price Index’ was introduced. We built a bespoke digital platform which monitored Sydney’s outdoor temperature and provided consumers with real-time, heat related beer discounts. Supported by staff On-Premise and Point-Of-Sale, patrons monitored the ‘Index’ via their smartphone, locking in discounts when the temperature was at its peak. The campaign included weekly ‘Beer Weather Forecast’, hosted by Australian TV celebrity, Danny Clayton which was seeded through social media platforms.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

‘It’s Sydney Time’ became the most talked about beer promotion of summer, gaining 130+ pieces of media coverage and a staggering 74,039,872 mentions in local and international media (Australia, USA, NZ & UK). Highlights included, Triple M (Radio), Business Insider, GQ, Daily Mail, The Independent and many more. The campaign secured 19 new venues and retailers, a major win for an independent brewer. Product sales increased by over 18% at participating venues, which are directly attributed to the campaign. The CCOO recruitment drive generated 17,000 searches, resulting in 90 job applications. The SBC website received unprecedented traffic, with an increase of 300% during the campaign, compared to previous traffic. The “Beer Weather Forecast” video content reached more than 195,000 consumers, contributing to a 15% increase in Facebook fans and 16% increase in Instagram followers. Overall, return on media investment was over 4,360% on every dollar spent for the campaign.

Please tell us about the challenger brand and how your campaign challenged/was different from your competitors

Sydney Beer Co. is an 18 month old brand set up by two Sydney mates, their ambition to become Sydney's Summer beer of choice had one major stumbling block - the local beer market is controlled by two major corporations (LION and CUB) with multi-million dollar ad budgets. This meant beer sales in the On Premise were all but locked up in contracts with hotel groups and pub syndicates. To succeed, we needed to find a new way to capture the attention of both consumers and potential venues. With Sydney venues littered with printed Point-of-Sale at this time, we decided to use PR-friendly thinking to capture the attention of local news and lifestyle media. We then unleashed a world-first digital summer tool that helped drinkers to turn the daily temperature into a beer discount. 'It's Sydney Time' was designed for the target audience - not typical hotel group activity.


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