For more information about Royal Holloway, please see this promotional video. To see a promotional video for the MA Consumption, Markets & Culture see here. To see a promotional video for the Royal Holloway School of Management, click here.

For more information about the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing and the application process see here.

To get an understanding of the unique values that underly the MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing programme please read these blog posts: Value of Scholarly Values, Importance of Reading and Morris Holbrook and Business Interest in Education.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Do You Follow The Beer, er Bear? The Grocer-isation of Alcohol Branding in the UK

The Hofmeister Bear was an advertising icon, created in the mid-1980s by John Webster of London ad agency BMP DDB. Webster had noticed that a monster character on the Andy Williams show seemed to be very popular with adults as well as children. He copied it to create the Honey Monster, a character that featured heavily in advertising for children's breakfast cereal Sugar Puffs, and still does. Webster then applied his advertising genius to a creative leap that had seismic implications for drinking in the UK. He took his actor-in-a-bearsuit gag and used it to sell Hofmeister's tasteless lager beer. He got away with it, the Advertising Standards Authority didn't seem to notice the overt appeal to children in the ad, and alcohol began to be marketed like any other branded grocery product. Webster was also the creative brain behind the Cadbury's Smash Martians, another legendary UK TV advertising campaign which popularised a frankly disgusting instant mashed potato mix. He saw that beer, regardless of quality, could be branded on a similar scale. Today, the implications of this move into the grocery branding of alcohol and the accompanying shift away from pub on-sales to retail off-sales, what I call the grocer-isation of alcohol, are clear: the mean age profile of people with acute alcohol-related disease has fallen dramatically. The numbers of young people under 30 presenting in liver specialist wards with advanced liver disease has boomed. How significant is the grocer-isation of alcohol in the UK's alcohol problem?