[Video] How FoxP2 got the whole world hooked on Garagista craft beer…

[Video] How FoxP2 got the whole world hooked on Garagista craft beer…

Jessica Hubbard, Deputy Editor; 6 August 2015

It seemed a bit late in the game when Steve Miller, formerly an Innovation Director at SABMiller, wanted to launch a new craft beer in the local market. Consumers now have countless choices available to them, and most of the popular drinking spots have some sort of craft beer offering. So when Miller approached advertising agency FoxP2 to help him launch his new brand of craft beer, Garagista, the creative team knew they had to come up with something special.



“The brief was to come up with something disruptive in the craft beer market,” explains Lian Lombard, lead strategist at FoxP2. “When our client [Miller] came up with the concept of a new craft beer, there were already so many other players in the market. So it was pretty much an open brief, although the client had already started doing some thinking around the name [Garagista].”

She notes that some of the inspiration for the creative team came from the fact that a Garagista is a bit of a rebel, ‘so we knew from the beginning that the brand would have to bring this ethos to life.’

Justin Gomes, Executive Creative Director at FoxP2, explains that Miller, who named the brand, is ‘actually a bit of a motor racing nut.’

“And Garagista refers to the upstarts in the motor racing industry who actually went against the grain and started building cars from their garages in a sense…so that’s where the rebellious nature of the brand began,” he says.


Fox 2


What do Hipsters Want?

“It all started with an insight into the target market,” says Gomes. “We all know that craft beer is really popular with hipsters, and we also know that hipsters want what is not readily available. It almost becomes a sign of status to find things that other people can’t.”

He adds: “So we had this idea of telling the target market, the hipsters, that this craft beer wasn’t for them…and it really peaked their interest and got them engaged with the campaign – which was a lovely insight and a brave insight for a marketer to embrace.”

According to Lombard, it helped that the agency could at least show Miller their impressive track record, but she also credits his own bravery and industry insights.

“He [the client] is also someone with a lot of experience, and in that way we were very fortunate to find a meeting of minds,” she says. “And he had faith in us.”

“Faith is such an important word,” adds Gomes. “We are seeing more and more that the number crunchers and researchers and procurement [professionals] are inch by inch taking over the creative advertising industry…but there are still marketers out there like Steve Miller and Sharon Keith [Coca Cola S.A.]  who recognise that you need to take a leap of faith if something instinctively feels right – and they’ve got the guts to take that step without the safety net of all the research…”

“There’s no way this campaign would have got through the ‘analysis paralysis’,” he says.


fox 4


Global Phenomenon

According to Lombard, the campaign became famous all over the world, and it really ‘went viral’.

“It was a great surprise for us that this insight not only resonated in the SA market but across the globe,” she says. “It was viewed in 169 countries…It is often easier for causal campaigns to get that kind of traction, which speaks to ‘being a good human being’, but for a craft beer campaign (and one which is only being launched) to have such global reach is for us a real sign of success!”


Fox 1


She notes that the video was watched online almost 95 000 times over the campaign period of 7 months, and this number continues to ‘snowball’.

“We spent R10 000 on seeding, and achieved an online reach of 80 million,” adds Gomes. “It’s one thing quoting the figures, but it’s another thing to see the demand for Garagista not only in SA but worldwide. We’ve had guys from the Cayman Islands phone ahead before landing, calling Steve to request a visit to his brewery.”

Power of Digital

“It’s been incredible to see the power of digital, spreading around the world and creating the demand for this product,” says Gomes.

He adds that Garagista was the most sought after beer at the Festival of Beer, and was sold out the quickest.

“And it’s just going from strength to strength,” he says, adding that the client is in talks with Nandos to stock the beer.

“Steve [Miller] was only looking for about 20 retailers to list his product, because he intended to stay small and niche,” explains Lombard. “And he got over 60 retailers involved who wanted to list the beer. In SA, that is unheard of, as getting listed is very tough.”

Product Development

Gomes says that the agency is now involved with the second iteration of Garagista.

“We saw the demand, and we actually said to Steve ‘how can we got involved quite far upstream in the next campaign?’ And we had this idea of creating a follow up product called Tears of the Hipster, and we helped design the beer with Steve,” he says. “So we actually became involved in the product development itself and created a wonderful label that said Tears of the Hipster on the beer. I believe it was one of the reasons why it did so well at the Festival of Beer because we created all this hype around it. It also won an award at the Festival for the most innovative product.”


Fox 3

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Category: Advertising