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London Carling

London Carling

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

April 8, 2019

Havas London and the UK’s biggest lager brand highlight hometown pride with LGBTQ football players, punk music, and pigeon rolling—yes, pigeon rolling.

"The link to local community is crucial as the essence of the campaign is putting local success on its rightful stage."

For Carling’s first TV spots in more than two years, Havas London created a campaign that champions and supports the people who are making things happen in their hometown—just like Carling, which is brewed by local people in its historic home of Burton-on-Trent.

Havas London Creative Director Lynsey Atkin shares more about the “Made Local” campaign that spans out of home, VoD, cinema, and social media, as well as several longer-form documentaries and a consumer PR campaign (not to mention a recent campaign addition with punk band Slaves).

Give us some background on your relationship with Carling and the creative brief they gave the team.

Carling is the UK’s biggest lager brand by some distance, but it had lost relevance amongst its audience, in a climate when mainstream beer was losing share to the smaller, seemingly more authentic microbreweries and trendy pale ales. Their advertising had also lost its way: truly funny, great British beer ads had given way to lukewarm slapstick campaigns that showed consumers as unlucky losers who lick their wounds over a beer in their pub-cave. Carling needed to remind their core audience of why they’re number one and show some new drinkers what Carling’s really all about.

How important was it to have the focus of the spots be about the local community?

The link to local community is crucial as the essence of the campaign is putting local success on its rightful stage. Carling is made in Burton-on-Trent—in the heart of Britain—and we wanted to tell not just this story, but also the stories of other equivalent local successes, groups of mates who are succeeding in their towns on their terms—who are Making It Where They’re From.

How did you pick the locations of the communities you featured?

The stories dictated the locations, as we went where the best stories were. With that said, we were lucky that the suite of stories we settled on were spread across the country. We literally went from the middle of Britain (the brewers of Burton, and the LGBTQ football players of Wolverhampton), right out to its very edges (the punk scene in Swansea, the cold water Surfers of Scotland, and the world champion Pigeon Rollers of Middlesbrough). We spent a LOT of time in a minibus.

"We always talked about this campaign being 'HBO comes to Burton'."

These videos are very cinematic in nature. Were the visuals just as important as the stories?

We always talked about this campaign being “HBO comes to Burton”—presenting towns like you’ve never seen them before, in the most cinematic way possible. This was a huge part of why Rollo Jackson at Somesuch was such a key choice of director—he brings a proper sense of authenticity and visual richness to everything he does.

It was also important that while giving these real characters the chance to tell their story, we created visuals that summed up the narratives in one or two images; the row of bright pink shirts for the LGBTQ football team, the huddle on the centre circle; the surfer who makes his own board and then rides the waves on it; the throng of the Swansea punk club.

Probably the most striking visuals are those of Pigeon Rolling in Middlesbrough, particularly in the long- form documentary. These are images that have never been captured on film before, so to have them shot so beautifully by Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Robbie Ryan, was a personal highlight.

Besides the TV spots, what other ways has the team communicated Carling’s new campaign?

The soul of the campaign is probably the three longer-form documentary films that show the real stories of local success in all its nuance—Stella Scott’s “Black Country Fusion,” Dan Emmerson’s “Noise Valley,” and Alex Hulsey’s “Boro Rollers.” There’s also a huge outdoor campaign that accompanies the Burton beer making film. But best of all, Carling has put their money where their mouth is and created a Made Local fund where anyone can apply to receive backing for a local project of their own.

What do you hope people watching will take away from these campaigns?

That they’re proud of where they’re from and that if they have an idea to make something, they can get up and do it with the Made Local fund. And, that pigeon rolling really is a thing.

"The link to local community is crucial as the essence of the campaign is putting local success on its rightful stage."

For Carling’s first TV spots in more than two years, Havas London created a campaign that champions and supports the people who are making things happen in their hometown—just like Carling, which is brewed by local people in its historic home of Burton-on-Trent.

Havas London Creative Director Lynsey Atkin shares more about the “Made Local” campaign that spans out of home, VoD, cinema, and social media, as well as several longer-form documentaries and a consumer PR campaign (not to mention a recent campaign addition with punk band Slaves).

Give us some background on your relationship with Carling and the creative brief they gave the team.

Carling is the UK’s biggest lager brand by some distance, but it had lost relevance amongst its audience, in a climate when mainstream beer was losing share to the smaller, seemingly more authentic microbreweries and trendy pale ales. Their advertising had also lost its way: truly funny, great British beer ads had given way to lukewarm slapstick campaigns that showed consumers as unlucky losers who lick their wounds over a beer in their pub-cave. Carling needed to remind their core audience of why they’re number one and show some new drinkers what Carling’s really all about.

How important was it to have the focus of the spots be about the local community?

The link to local community is crucial as the essence of the campaign is putting local success on its rightful stage. Carling is made in Burton-on-Trent—in the heart of Britain—and we wanted to tell not just this story, but also the stories of other equivalent local successes, groups of mates who are succeeding in their towns on their terms—who are Making It Where They’re From.

How did you pick the locations of the communities you featured?

The stories dictated the locations, as we went where the best stories were. With that said, we were lucky that the suite of stories we settled on were spread across the country. We literally went from the middle of Britain (the brewers of Burton, and the LGBTQ football players of Wolverhampton), right out to its very edges (the punk scene in Swansea, the cold water Surfers of Scotland, and the world champion Pigeon Rollers of Middlesbrough). We spent a LOT of time in a minibus.

"We always talked about this campaign being 'HBO comes to Burton'."

These videos are very cinematic in nature. Were the visuals just as important as the stories?

We always talked about this campaign being “HBO comes to Burton”—presenting towns like you’ve never seen them before, in the most cinematic way possible. This was a huge part of why Rollo Jackson at Somesuch was such a key choice of director—he brings a proper sense of authenticity and visual richness to everything he does.

It was also important that while giving these real characters the chance to tell their story, we created visuals that summed up the narratives in one or two images; the row of bright pink shirts for the LGBTQ football team, the huddle on the centre circle; the surfer who makes his own board and then rides the waves on it; the throng of the Swansea punk club.

Probably the most striking visuals are those of Pigeon Rolling in Middlesbrough, particularly in the long- form documentary. These are images that have never been captured on film before, so to have them shot so beautifully by Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Robbie Ryan, was a personal highlight.

Besides the TV spots, what other ways has the team communicated Carling’s new campaign?

The soul of the campaign is probably the three longer-form documentary films that show the real stories of local success in all its nuance—Stella Scott’s “Black Country Fusion,” Dan Emmerson’s “Noise Valley,” and Alex Hulsey’s “Boro Rollers.” There’s also a huge outdoor campaign that accompanies the Burton beer making film. But best of all, Carling has put their money where their mouth is and created a Made Local fund where anyone can apply to receive backing for a local project of their own.

What do you hope people watching will take away from these campaigns?

That they’re proud of where they’re from and that if they have an idea to make something, they can get up and do it with the Made Local fund. And, that pigeon rolling really is a thing.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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