Carlsberg Calls for New Brand Positioning


Carlsberg, arguably one of the world’s premium beer brands, is getting its most significant makeover since the beer’s origination in 1847.

Call it part of brand rejuvenation — a phenomenon that occurs when a brand sets its sights on aggressive growth in a market where demand might be softening and competition is fierce.[more]

In the beer category, the world’s four largest brewers account for over half the global market for beer. Denmark’s Carlsberg is number four, behind Anheuser-Busch InBev, SAB Miller, and Heineken. That means Carlsberg has to make waves to gain its fair share of the market.

But the Carlsberg brand is just one of some 500 brands the company markets globally. The Wall Street Journal reports that the brewer makes “most of its money selling local brews in individual markets,” and that the Carlsberg brand represents only 10 percent of the company’s total revenues.

With an eye towards changing that ratio, Carlsberg Group has launched a “new brand proposition” for its Carlsberg brand, according to the company.

Khalil Younes, SVP of Global, Sales, Marketing and Innovation, says, “Carlsberg is a fantastic brand, but the brand has even more potential that can be cultivated. Now, we also want to add essence to our brand. It is time we take Carlsberg to the next level.”

In order to do that, Carlsberg is introducing a new tagline that the company says will celebrate the brand’s heritage and values, while connecting it with today’s “active, adventurous” generation of beer drinkers. The brand proposition encourages consumers to ‘step up and do the right thing,” rewarding themselves with a Carlsberg for their deeds. Hence the tagline: “That calls for a Carlsberg.”

An initial television ad spoofs man’s moon conquest, turning it into an event “that calls for a Carlsberg” — the tagline for print, out door and new video spots for online (check them out below) for TV and the web. Clearly, it’s a more contemporary approach for a brand that is quick to leave behind what may have been stodgy roots — even as it honors that heritage.

Ads are just one part of the brand modernization. The company has taken a sensitive hand to the brand’s visual identity which, according to Khalil Younes, was designed by Danish designer Thorvald Bindersboll in 1904.

“Few beer brands have a logo that’s strong and distinctive enough to live independently,” says Younes. “Most beer brands have to rely on embellishment and decoration, but the Carlsberg logo can boldly stand on its own and it still looks as fresh and modern as if it were designed yesterday.”

In other words, the logo is staying, but it has been refreshed and modernized. The Danish Royal crown has been made more simple and distinctive. The dominant green has been made more vibrant. Antique gold has been replaced by a more sophisticated alloy of gold and silver.

The brand’s logo now carries three elements: the Brewer’s Star, the Hope Leaf, and the inclusion of “Copenhagen 1847,” indicating where and when the beer was first brewed. These three elements are together for the first time. New packaging is currently being rolled out this year across all 140 markets.

“It is a truly global initiative and a very exciting one,” says Younes. “Once this roll out is complete, all packaging and associated marketing communications will not only reflect the brand’s positioning, but will provide us with a uniform, distinctive and appealing look and feel across all our markets.”


Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, Carlsberg’s CEO comments in press materials that while Carlsberg’s famous green logo is known all over the world, its sales simply do not measure up to its brand recognition.

“Although international recognition is good, it is not enough. We are investing significantly in the Carlsberg brand, widening our distribution channels and making every effort to get closer to our customers and consumers.” 


The company says “by 2015, Carlsberg anticipates that the Carlsberg brand will have doubled its profits.” Really? Well if it happens, that definitely calls for a Carlsberg.

Below, watch the new web and TV spots (all ending in the “That calls for a Carlsberg” tagline) in the brand’s global campaign, starting with two new TVCs that were filmed in New Zealand, “Spaceman” and Everest” —

• Description: “In July 1969, mankind did something amazing. Something that had never been done before. Something really worthy of a Carlsberg. Watch our version of that historic step for mankind now.”

• Description: “In 1953, mankind achieved something quite amazing. An epic challenge that had never before been conquered. Something truly deserving of a Carlsberg. Watch our version of this pinnacle in the history of mankind.”

The following 15-second spots reinforce Carlsberg’s premium positioning:

• “Perfection is never easy. That calls for a Carlsberg.”

• “Proud to be different. That calls for a Carlsberg.”

• “The finest barley, yeast and hops. That calls for a Carlsberg.”

• “100% dedication. That calls for a Carlsberg.”

The following ads play up the brand’s heritage:

• “Discover the secret history of Carlsberg. How our inspiration and dedication gave rise to modern civilisation. Now that calls for a Carlsberg.”

• “In 1883 we discovered a new brewing yeast. That calls for a Carlsberg.”

The following spots support the brand’s football sponsorship in the UK: