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Newcastle Brown Ale shakes up engagement via mobile bar codes

?It?s a 'No Bollocks' take on a fashionable digital marketing gimmick,? said Brett Steen, brand manager at Newcastle Brown Ale, White Plains, NY.

?Like all of our communications, our goal is to be direct and transparent across every marketing tactic we use,? he said.
Multichannel reach
The messaging behind the Newcastle Brown Ale campaign is meant to poke fun of some of the stereotypes that consumers might have about beer. For example, the belief that hand-crafted beer is only served in a number of select bars is one of the stereotypes associated with certain types of beer.

The beer brand is placing QR codes on tap handles in bars where Newcastle products are available.

Copy around the mobile bar codes encourages consumers to scan the QR code to find the nearest Newcastle beer.

When consumers scan the code, they are directed to a landing page with an arrow that points towards the tap handle and reads, ?There it is.?

The content is simple, but effective in driving home the message that consumers do not need to go on a hunt to find hand-crafted beer ? it is already available where they are.

Video is also a big priority of the campaign. The campaign includes a series of TV spots that highlight some of the gimmicks that beer brands rely on in their marketing, such as party scenes.

On mobile, Newcastle Brown Ale will run pre-rolls on sites including Comedy Central, The Onion and YouTube to distribute the video content.

The brand also relied on mobile video pre-rolls for a 2012 campaign, per Mr. Steen.

Newcastle Brown Ale also has a mobile Web site where of-age consumers can watch videos and learn more about the brand.

The campaign is being used to push a new line of 14.9 oz. beer can. Ten-packs of the beer are available nationwide. 

Droga5 New York is the agency behind the campaign.

Mobile gulp
Newcastle Brown Ale is not the only beer brand to leverage QR codes as part of a larger marketing push.

For instance, last year Budweiser rolled out a campaign that let users track the origins of their beer via on-pack QR codes (see story).

In another example, Samuel Adams placed mobile bar codes on coasters as a way to boost participation in a holiday promotion (see story).

?In the case of our QR code tap handle, we're humorously pointing out that QR codes are meant to drive purchase ? and nothing does that more clearly than scanning our tap handle and being directed back to that very same tap handle to purchase Newcastle Brown Ale,? Mr. Steen said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York