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New Zealand was once a nation of proud, beer drinking men.  

Whilst there is constant reference to the ‘modern male’, actually not much had changed at all with Kiwi blokes over the generations. They still enjoyed simple pleasures - playing and watching sport, making things, catching things, and of course spending time with their mates, having a beer and coming up with far-fetched ideas that were going to ‘change the world’. 

But over the past few years, despite NPD and new brands entering the market, beer consumption had slumped. And DB Export, a mainstream lager within the DB Breweries portfolio, was not exempt from this pressure. In order to keep sales volume up, price was having to come down. Not a great place for a brand to stay long-term. 

SparkPHD needed to remind mainstream beer drinkers that DB Export was the perfect choice of everyday beer for everyday Kiwi blokes. But instead of following the category conventions of bombarding Kiwi blokes with clichéd beer campaigns that try to give them a rational REASON to pick one brand over another, the brand went in a different direction. 

It was in a position to give them a playful but noble EXCUSE to drink DB Export… 


The agency created the world’s first ‘beer by-product’ petrol by turning leftover yeast slurry into 300,000 litres of planet saving biofuel - DB Export Brewtroleum and convinced a national petrol station chain to sell it. That meant it could rally the men of New Zealand around a new cause. 

DRINK MORE BEER. SAVE THE WORLD - It was the ultimate incentive to buy. The more you drink, the more saving DB can do. And there was no price promo discount in sight. 

The communications strategy was to launch the story with PR, organic social and earned media so that drinkers heard about Brewtroleum in the news or from their mates first and then use paid media to magnify the message and remind blokes to buy DB Export. This broke down as follows: 

1. Introduce NZ to Brewtroleum; the story of how it works through PR and earned media 

2. Make it real; Tell NZ where they can buy it, showcase tankers delivering it and create interest in Brewtroleum petrol stations through PR and earned media  

3. Amplify the story with a call to arms; tell beer drinkers that they can help save the world by drinking more DB Export through paid media. 


Introducing Brewtroleum... 

To remove cynicism around ‘Is it for real?’& ‘Does it actually work?!’ SparkPHD first seeded the story with all local media platforms who doubted that a local beer brand could do something as ridiculous as turn beer into petrol. 

This culminated in One News, NZ’s biggest TV news platform, covering the live pilot to see if Brewtroleum actually worked – with proof delivered via the reporter mowing the DB Breweries front lawn in his Brewtroleum powered lawnmower. 

The agency then looked for anything media-related that could be powered by Brewtroleum and powered it - including the entire production of a local comedy show and a speedboat that showed off one presenter’s wakeboarding skills! 

It then created a physical presence for the brand through a partnership with Gull petrol stations.   

Brewtroleum was rolled out to 62 stations nationally for six weeks via a branded Brewtroleum petrol tanker and branded pumps in every station created another media channel in itself.  

Landing ‘more DB Export you drink, the more Brewtroleum we create, the more we save the world’ was crucial, so all of this activity was supported by TV, digital video, social and media partnerships to drive awareness and deliver longevity. 

Finally, the agency produced in-pack vouchers for every carton of DB Export which discounted Brewtroleum – incentivising people to experience the fuel. Conversely, Brewtroleum buyers were given DB Export vouchers.   

The self-fulfilling nature of this incentive plan generated a reciprocal customer journey – a recipe for business success.  


In total, the campaign was seen by 96% of New Zealand men. And by giving them a worthy excuse to drink more beer, the agency achieved all of its objectives. 

SALES SUCCESS: Against a target to grow DB Export sales +5% YOY, sales since the campaign launch are up 15% YOY. But more importantly the product is selling at a higher price point which has a far greater effect on profit. DB Export is now the fastest growing brand in the DB portfolio, with growth more than doubling that of hero brand Heineken and becoming the biggest selling beer in New Zealand. 

BRAND SUCCESS: Brand measures have also improved significantly 

‘Great brand for me’ 
Target: Move from 7% - 10%:  
Achieved: 12% 

Target: Move from 9% - 11% 
Achieved: 14% 

‘Brand Approval’ 
Target: Move from 7% - 9% 
Achieved: 10% 

SAVING THE WORLD: That objective is ongoing but DB Export continues to do its bit. One beer at a time.

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DB Export
Drinks (alcoholic)
New Zealand
June 2015 - December 2016
Spark PHD
Media Channel:
  • FMAs winner
  • FMAs shortlisted

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