Carlton Mid Hooks Queenslanders with Local Newspapers

The beer, Carlton Mid was stuck at 20 percent share of the Queensland mid-strength beer market. It had been fighting, unsuccessfully, to win market share from category leader XXXX Gold. As a bigger brand, XXXX Gold has a bigger marketing spend, including high profile Queensland sports sponsorships.

A cycle of simple sales promos and funny ads was maintaining Carlton Mid’s position in the local market, but the brand could not gain on XXXX Gold.

Setting Targets

Carlton Mid owner United Brewery and its ad agency Clemenger BBDO & Proximity in Melbourne worked together to form brand and sales objectives to take on XXXX Gold.

Brand objectives were to:

  • Increase brand commitment by 5%.
  • Take a $700K production and media budget to create a genuine moment in Queensland culture. Based on previous experience, they set $100,000 of PR value for local media only.
  • Have measurable and highly involved engagement of a group of at least 10,000 Queenslanders — people who could become Carlton Mid superfans.
  • Create an ownable property that could extend beyond a campaign period with ongoing cultural activity.

Sales objectives were to:

  • Grow market share over the campaign period – something that hadn’t happened in three years.
  • Increase sales in three key regional centres: Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Townsville.


United Brewery and Clemenger BBDO & Proximity knew they had to build the Carlton Mid brand in key Queensland markets. To do this, they started thinking like a local.

Through research, they discovered Queensland males love to fish. This provided a fantastic opportunity – Carlton Mid’s brand strategy is about finding ways to spend more time with mates, and fishing is a natural cultural fit with this.

The Big Idea

Market research showed that Queenslanders’ trust local media, so the campaign used a number of local press titles such as the Townsville Bulletin and The Morning Bulletin.


Print ads had a dual purpose – to let keen local fishermen know about the competition and to advertise to the more general beer-drinking public that Carlton Mid were doing focused, local activity.


Consumer response to the campaign was well above expectation. A total of 27,000 Queenslanders entered the Rich Fish competition.

There was a jump in brand tracking results, particularly relating to brand commitment. The number of people who are committed to Carlton Mid (i.e. have it as one of their top two brands) grew by 20 percent. This was the first positive movement the company had seen in three years.

Sales in Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Townsville achieved an incremental increase of $506,660.


*Mackisack, Sam, Carlton & United Breweries: How Carlton Mid became a Queensland local (June 2011), WARC.

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