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Social Media Marketing: the Ceres Beer Case

Marketing community experts and non-experts alike consider the social campaigns run by Ceres, the well-known Danish beer brand, as the perfect example of how to do social marketing.

Ceres’ social media managers pick up on current news or political highlights and use their creativity to come up with ironic and funny messages for the brand’s advertising campaigns.

Over the years, they have created a recognizable social communication style that has generated an unbelievable degree of engagement. It attracts the attention of both experts and people who are passionate about social media marketing, although some of them have expressed concerns regarding the campaigns’ actual effectiveness. The #SanremoCeres campaign, amongst others, was played out in real time.

During Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, which has just ended, Ceres’ social media managers came up with a very creative campaign called ‘Indispettiti’, which basically translates into ‘Annoyed’ in English. Not being officially involved in the Festival, they saw fit to rent a balcony next to the Ariston theatre and create a tweet kit, distributing it to selected influencers, but giving everyone the option to download it. Participants in the #SanremoCeres campaign (this was its official hashtag) had to photograph the block with their handwritten tweets and then share them. The best, most irreverent, and fun tweets ended up hanging from the balcony in the form of banners.

During the early evening alone, the campaign generated 24,000 interactions. It was a mix of guerrilla and social media marketing; a successful one, given the success it registered.

But #SanremoCeres is just the latest in a long line of real-time well-orchestrated and played out social campaigns.

During the night of the 2015 Academy Awards, the four times awarded Birdman movie immediately became Beerman, a man shaped like a bottle of beer. An instant marketing milestone.

When Dutch hooligans devastated Bernini’s Four Rivers fountain during the Europa League Roma vs. Feyenoord match, Ceres launched the ‘If you can’t drink, stay at home’ campaign, which not only subtly advertised the Ceres product, but also propagated a joyful take on responsible drinking as a way to socialize, not to destroy artistic masterpieces.

There have even been references to politics: the memorable campaign run during the 2013parliamentary elections, when Ceres excelled with social ads such as ‘Heroes do not abstain’, ‘Vote first, then drink. Not like the other times’, and ‘Open your bottles only when the polls are closed’.

‘We are a monument among beers’, on the other hand, is an ad that plays on the recent case of the statues that were covered during Iranian President Rouhani’s visit to Rome’s Capitoline Museums: the image simply showed the white panels used to cover the statues.

In brief, Ceres has proven its ability to act quickly by taking advantage of current, political, or social events.

There are also those who, going against the grain, argue that what Ceres’ social media managers do is actually just a bit of fun, and does not contribute to create clear and truly unique brand positioning; in other words, it creates a buzz around the brand but, in practice, it does not succeed in distinctly positioning itself in people’s minds.

Whatever one may think of Ceres’ social campaigns, the fact remains that they do draw attention, in no small measure, to themselves; studying them to understand how the social world and the dynamics of real time marketing move is the right choice, regardless of personal opinions.