When lager advertising gave Samantha one

The Skol lager ad with the immortal last line. Watch to the end –  it’ s a cracker. It also was a landmark campaign for lager, according to the agency that made it – D’Arcy Macmanus & Masius.

Why was it different? Because it was among the first mass-advertised lagers to focus on the context of the drink rather than the product quality.

For young men, the core target market, taste was not their real motivation for drinking lager; what mattered to them was the sociability and conviviality involved in drinking. This was the opportunity. The Skolars campaign, “When you know lager, you’re a Skolar” expressed all emotional motivations for drinking lager and indissolvably linked them to Skol.

Within two years Skol’s previously declining market share had been restored to the position it held in the mid seventies. This despite the interruptions to supply caused by industrial disputes.

Neither product quality, nor price relative to other standard lagers had changed and distribution had in fact declined. Thus of all the marketing factors that could conceivably have influenced the brand’s market share only advertising could have been responsible for the gains achieved in the last two years.

IPA Effectiveness Awards, 1982

The agency of course was being slightly disingenuous. Happy, convivial drinkers had been part and parcel of beer advertising since the start of beer advertising. But the difference with the 1978 ‘When you know lager, you’re a Skolar’ ads was that the drinkers weren’t happy as a direct result of the beer’s own characteristics, but because of the social context they were served in.

In other words it was part of the long farewell to claims of “Refreshment” and being “Probably the best” and towards such dubious practices as ‘Following the bear’ and making a ‘sHarp exit’.


About Andrew

Former Grocer journalist and Carlsberg PR, turning lager historian
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3 Responses to When lager advertising gave Samantha one

  1. Tandleman says:

    Fantastic. I remember this quite well. Nice little bit of subtle innuendo too.

  2. I worked at DM&M at the time, and we thought that it had been approved for broadcast because the old fogies at the regulators hadn’t noticed the closing line. But they sent a little note along the lines of, “Don’t think we didn’t spot it, but we decided to let it go because its market will love it and their mums and dads won’t notice.”

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Sarah – I keep turning up some really good stories from ex-agency people. Consider yourself on my interview list!

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