Brewer takes aim at mid strength market: $6m war chest to launch Heineken 3

Heineken will plunge more than $6m into the launch of its new low carb beer, Heineken 3, and back off marketing its master brand until 2017 as it uses Australia as the global launch pad for the new beer.

Heineken 3Planning for the launch has been underway for months as the brewer attempts to capitalise on the growing interest in more “sessionable” drinks.

The new brand steps into a market that is dominated by Lion’s XXXX Gold, Carlton Mid and Coopers Mid.

Estimates suggest one-in-five beers sold in Australia are mid-strength.

Alessandro Manunta, marketing director at Heineken Lion, told Mumbrella he did not believe the new line would cannibalise the master brand, but instead would allow Heineken to grab a bigger share of the afternoon drinking market where people did not want to drink a full strength beer. The recipe and branding is also aimed at attracting more women to beer.heineken exterior building shot

“(It) came from the proposition of Heineken 3 being lower calories, lower carbs and great taste,”Manunta said.

“Those are the three key elements of the proposition. At the same time our message to consumers is clear, it is a mid strength proposition.”

The brand aims to address the upward growth of the cider market, where drinkers seeking a lighter taste have been moving over to.

Heineken 3 will be supported with a massive outdoor campaign, with social media and a comprehensive national sampling effort.

Manunta said getting Australians to taste the beer is crucial to its success and the company aimed to get the brand in front of 80% of 18 to 34-year-old males and females within six months, with a massive PR effort to sustain the brand.heineken bottles in a bucket shot

“The way we are marketing the product, we are trying to be a little bit more gender neutral in our comms and in the way that we are selling the proposition. The platform of the brand is ‘Have It All’, and is about the three key elements.”

He said part of the communications would be focused on getting the brand in front people in places where wine and cider had become the preferred choice of female drinkers but the approach would be gender neutral.

The campaign will target venues and specific times of the day so it can gain awareness during the afternoon.

“So it’s the occasion that we are targeting,” he said.

In a bid to give the brand room to gain traction in the market, Manunta said that the Heineken master brand would go comparatively quiet in the coming months.

“Our expectation is that Heineken 3 will have a strong halo effect on Heineken from an equity perspective.

“We think that the Heineken brand needs some innovation and this is going to be seen positively by consumers and the fact we are going to have a strong campaign for Heineken 3 is going to be fresh news for the (overall) brand,” he said.

The reduction in Heineken branding will be for six months while 3 is promoted, with the brand being handed back the spotlight when the Australian Grand Prix takes place in Melbourne in March to coincide with the Heineken’s global sponsorship.


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