Furphy’s un-beer-lievably effective brew

August 2020

The archives of Australia’s most culture-defining advertising is littered with examples from the beer category: Carlton Draught’s ‘Big Ad’, Tooheys Extra Dry’s ‘Tongue’, Pure Blonde’s ‘Brewtopia’, and Hahn Super Dry’s ‘Super goes in’ – just to name a few. In the same way Australia consistently punches above its weight on the global sporting stage, so does its beer advertising – proudly standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the world’s best.

Furphy Refreshing Ale comes from humble beginnings in Geelong, a regional town in the state of Victoria, Australia. It originally supplied only a handful of pubs and bars locally, but insatiable demand ‘north of the border’ led to its interstate expansion.

Like many brands in their formative years, its growth was largely driven by word of mouth. And while this worked up until a certain point, the vast distribution network now behind it requires the brand to reach the hearts and minds of beer consumers in every corner of the country, keeping Furphy front-of-mind and reminding people of what makes it special.

Utilising a distinctly Australian vernacular, ‘Unbelievable’ follows two bar patrons who become enraptured by a barkeeper’s ‘furphy’ (a colloquialism for a ‘tall-tale’) about a game of Aussie rules football where he scores twice from one kick to win the game.

So, what did football-watching beer drinkers think of the ad? We used our three C’s framework to determine its effectiveness.

  • Captivate: Does it attract and retain attention, and engage in an emotional way?
  • Connect: Is the brand instantly recognisable?
  • Compel: Does it leave people with a lasting impression about the brand?

Captivate

The ad’s greatest strength was its unabashedly Australian wit and humour, centring around the charismatic barkeeper who recounts the time he kicked a 7-point goal. Viewers were enamoured with the captivating tale, keeping them (along with the bar patrons) on the edge of their seats throughout.

Heralding a return to the cinematic production qualities not seen in the beer category for many years, the theatre-packed narrative was described as ‘amusing’ by two-thirds of people and ‘distinctive’ by over half.

Connect

The pub setting, deep blues and presence of the Furphy logo helped frame people’s expectations around both the category and brand, synergising with the masculine and ‘larrikin’ tone.

However, the story itself being about “telling a furphy” was, perhaps unsurprisingly, key to the ad creating an indelible connection to “Furphy beer”. Half of viewers spontaneously recalled the ‘tall-tale’ as the most salient element of the ad, with the ‘unbelievable’ theme offering Furphy tremendous potential as a long-term campaign platform.

Compel

People could associate with the idea of “telling furphys”, presenting Furphy as down-to-earth, relatable and fun, while positioning the beer as suitable for social occasions. Playing up the ‘Australiana’ angle and suburban connotations harked back to Furphy’s roots, reinforcing ‘local’ and ‘authentic’ perceptions. This favourably predisposed people toward the brand.

Conclusion

Launching your first major campaign amidst a global pandemic isn’t ideal – particularly when you’re a beer brand and pubs and bars have been forced to shut their doors.

However, given media activity behind the campaign consists mainly of football programming, it’s fortunate that the AFL season has been able to stay largely on-track thus far. Funnily enough, this has only been made possible by the 10 Victorian-based teams moving ‘north of the border’!

‘Unbelievable’ is an apt way to describe Furphy’s first major campaign launch, and we sincerely hope it signals the return of big production beer advertising to the most powerful channel for delivering emotional content – TV.

Furphy Beer Unbelievable - Advertising Testing

This is a self-funded case study using our Advertising Testing solution.

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