VB launches limited edition 1958 heritage can

VB.jpgVB today launched a new heritage branded VB can. The first in a series of innovations set to hit the Aussie market this year, the limited edition packaging features the original artwork which adorned the first ever VB can sold back in 1958.
 
1958 was a significant year for beer, as VB became the first Australian beer to be sold in a can. Originally launched as a 13 1/3 fluid ounce steel container, the first VB cans lacked the convenient ring-pull of the modern aluminium can, instead requiring drinkers to punch a hole in the top using a  'church key' device. But the brewers were definitely onto something, identifying that the new packaging could chill beer faster than glass - making the tinnie a perfect fit for the 'best cold beer', VB.
 
"VB has always been the best cold beer," said Craig MacLean, senior brand manager for VB. "Ever since 1894 we've been searching for and introducing new and innovative ways to make sure that the VB you're drinking is as cold as possible. The introduction of the can in 1958 was a huge step forward for beer in Australia, something we are celebrating with this limited edition release."
 
The 1958 design, which will be available in selected stores throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania from early July, is the first in a series of 'best cold beer' ideas VB will deliver in the coming 12 months.
 
"As we head towards summer you'll see a lot more from VB. There's nothing better than an ice cold VB, so we're working to make sure that every time you have one in your hand it's as cold as possible."
 
While the Heritage Cans may look a little different, the beer inside the can remains the same. It's the current VB brew, Australia's favourite beer, inside of every can.

"The stakes were raised in 1958 when VB was the first to release a steel can alongside bottled beer," continued MacLean. "Imagine tasting an ice cold VB from a can for the first time. It really was a ground-breaking moment, changing the way we enjoyed beer."
 

32 Comments

Jack Russell said:

In other breaking news, I discovered my Sulo Bin was missing this morning. Which is irritating. I suspect it's either the old lady who lives across the road - she padlocks her own bin least someone steals her valuable refuse. Or, it might be the dodgy builders down the street. Mysteries abound.

The Other Sean said:

A question for the experts:

Given it's a 1958 can, if I recycle it, will I be paid in Metric or Imperial?

Spaniel Cocker said:

Great. Now I don't have to drink one in my Dolorean.

Anonymous said:

What they really need is some advertising that gets back to the beer values of the 50s and 60s - something they managed to hang onto for 40 or so years. Then they might put and end to their slow decline.

Mat Rawnsley said:

I think 1958 was also the year Bob Hawke broke a world-beer drinking record - fastest yardy I think, whilst studying at Oxford. Maybe a stubby in the shape of his glorious silver bodgy pompadour?

Anonymous said:

I'm quite excited by the launch of this retro beer can. You see, I live in a house made out of old beer bottles and cans, which is classified by the Geelong Antiquities Foundation. For 35 years, I've been on the look-out for suitable materials to build the long-promised sewing room for the wife. But materials have been thin on the ground, especially with the GAF being hard-arses about 'maintaining the character'. But now, I can see it all happening.

The VB heritage cans will compliment the commemorative Swan Dry America Cup winning cans that form the back wall of the family/meals area. So excited.

Anonymous said:

You call this an innovation?

This shows me that VB brand team are all out of ideas to stop
the terminal decline. The issue is that VB is out of date and they've just brought out an out of date can to reinforce this. Pretty dumb...

Get ready for Rocktober. said:

If they can bring back this can, I wonder if they can also bring back by brown cord jacket with the leather elbow patches I lost at the 3XY christmas party.

If anyone finds it, you'll know its mine cos' it's got a pack of Craven A's in it and the keys to my Datsun Sunny.


Still thinking said:

What about a limited edition branded VB yardglass, 1:53?

Foster's, please make a $1,000,000 cheque payable to Old CD Guy.

Groucho said:

Oh dear, the beer inside the can remains the same. Pity.

Jimmy from Tassie said:

"We promise we have not changed the taste profile in recent years....." Another pathetic attempt by an arrogant brand team. Tell me, how will this reconnect with the droves of punters abandoning the brand?

Coopers Pale Ale FTW said:

You know what guys, well done for giving it a shot. It's kind of cool and it's kind of retro, and I'm sure at the end of the day you'll sell a few more beers for a while.

The problem here is that your product itself is shit. It tastes absolutely terrible.

No advertising, no matter how great it's been (and VB have had some amazing stuff over the years) has been able to alter this perception of mine (and the large majority of beer drinkers within Australia).

Sorry guys, reformulate the beer and you might be onto something.

Anonymous said:

The day that the average aussie beer drinker finally accepted that they could actually be seen drinking a well-made beer without fear of looking homosexual or something, was the day that VB began its inexorable decline.

It's a shit beer, it really is. One of the worst mass-produced brews in the country, and its sales have happily been declining for years as a result. Poor quality isn't always punished in the marketplace, but in this case it surely is. The only reason it still sells in any quantity is Foster's huge distribution channel. That, and discounting.

Nice retro can though. Should've gone the whole hog and made it out of steel with no easy-open tab, and supplied an old-school opener with every slab.

Cooper Lion said:

They are launching 'best cold beer' initiatives after getting rid of the line in the advertising. So they have stripped the brand of its equity and then tried to play on this equity. Whilst at the same time doing lots of random and different marketing activities (including taking the piss out of metrosexuals (from a beer that supposedly accepts everyone) How are sales? what's the response to spend been like? Seriously - it would be interesting to know.

Anonymous said:

The problem for Foster's is that the people doing the VB marketing are people like Mr Coopers Pale Ale FTW and 10.40 - they've had no respect for the product, and no respect for the people who drink it. And it shows in the advertising. VB advertising used to celebrate the average working blokes who drank the stuff, telling them how much they deserved a cold beer after a hard day's work; now the ad agencies treat them as a pack of bogans who are there purely for advertising creatives to ridicule with their genius while they sip on a Peroni.

Anonymous said:

1.00pm for PM.

Anonymous said:

1pm what have you ever done? Like ever? What do you know about beer marketing? What makes you a genius? What exactly would you do?

Didn't think so.

Anonymous said:

Awesome, which liquor stores are they available in, please give specific locations.

Anonymous said:

The chardonnay sipping la-di-das never understood VB.
It was the best cold way to slake a well-earned thirst for a bloody long time. Mate.
And, try as I might, I can't think of a better positioning for a beer.

Beer = reward...after you've done something of value and depth.

The CUB marketing department have never, ever earned a VB.

That's why they didn't value (and subsequently abandoned) the most valuable beer positioning in the country.

What will they drink now Fosters are getting rid of the wine business?

+1 to 1pm said:

Agree with 1pm wholeheartedly. Disagree with Coopers Pale FTW.

VB should stop trying to pretend it needs to target pompous gits (like they did in their Droga 'Real' campaign which tried too hard) and get back to what it is. The stuff is a 'lawnmower beer'. You cut the grass, you're hot you drink it and it tastes freakin' good. I love Coopers and agree it's awesome but a cold vb on a hot day still can cut it and has it's place in an aussie fridge.

Reformulating? WTF? Yeah let's re-formulate Vegemite, Lamingtons, Pavlova, Kangaroos and Hills Hoists while we're at it. You can acknowledge your past and celebrate it, or you can pretend to be something you're not. Reformulating VB would only hasten its decline and piss off a truckload of brand loyals too who still love it as an icon. The beer still has a place in the market - trouble is the new generation of beer drinkers isn't engaged to this beer - and that's where VB need to do some more heavy lifting and get some reward for effort.

Anonymous said:

Again, a bunch of comments from a bunch or lower level creatives who are well out of the league. You all kinda wish you had worked on Vb with D5. Right?

Tossers.

Old CD guy said:

No, 3:45, why don't you extract your head from the D5 arse and your tongue from the D5 sphincter just long enough to soak up a bit of the wisdom being offered here by people clearly much more senior than yourself.

There are 101 beers in the chill cabinet or on tap, but only one you had to earn. That's a mighty insight, a brilliant territory to own, and, I might say, from the days before planners and hair gel. And it was a campaign that had decades of investment behind it.

All that accumulated brand equity was flushed down the dunny by D5 in various inconsistent attempts to 'modernise' the brand. The so-called 'Real' campaign was the most self-conscious piece of ill-conceived claptrap in quite some time, and so, so wrong for the brand.

What folly awaits us next on this icon brand, I wonder?

3:45, you seem ill-equipped to fashion an argument - other than in a shrill"Fuck off" kind of way, but in the unlikely event that you are able to string more than a handful of words together in some sort of persuasive way, perhaps you could regale us all with a brief essay on why the VB work out of D5 is good, and why D5 is the great agency you clearly believe it is.

Anonymous said:

3:45 pm

Oh dear! Really?

Anonymous said:

Oh dear 4.33, you really are incapable of mounting any kind of argument. Ditto for 3.45. I have no intention of giving you my resume, but I can assure you it involves a lot of beer advertising.

I apologise for clearly being older than you, but as Old CD Guy suggests, why don't the two of you try to put forward a cogent argument for what has been done to the VB brand in recent years? Because it one of the great marketing tragedies of Australian history.

The world's best beer brand positioning has been shredded by a bunch of people who seem to have taken no interest in the history of the brand or the people who drink the beer. They have managed, in just a few short years, turned VB into a "me too" brand, with no brand separation from the other hundred beers in the bottle shop. Bizarre.

First, they tried to tell us that VB was for every category of Australian (managing to suggest, though, that each person in each category was a bogan or just an idiot). First lesson: if you try to say you're for everyone, you're really saying you're for no-one. It was VB's blue collar credentials that gave it credibility with the rest of the market, and that's what built its sales.

Then the Real campaign - my God, what a disaster! An beer ad that actively insulted its market like no other ad I've ever seen. Lesson Two: read your advertising history and recite the line from David Ogilvy - "The customer is not an idiot, she is your wife." By which he also implied, your brother, father, sister, mother, girlfriend and mate.

After you've learned just a few of the basics, and applied them to your ads, you'll be amazed at how much more effective they are.

My 2pence said:

Unfortunately for VB, thankfully for Australia, the 'blue collar' people you're talking about now put gel in their hair, wax their chests and earn more than most white collar office workers.

Yes they still swear more than the rest of us, but the 'cashed up bogans' (ironically, the CUB's) are realising they can afford their 'special occasion' drinks every day – the Boag's, Crown Lagers and James Squires. All of them terrible beers, except maybe Squire.

So while I'm guessing here, I can see D5's reason for moving it away from the 'blue collar' toothless bearded construction worker as they are literally a dying breed who have already made their lifetime brand choice.

And while they might be taking their time in finding something VB can grab onto and own, at least they're trying. I'd create a new product called VB micro-brewed and sell it for $12 a can, but I'm not the head of Fosters for a reason.

Best beer line positioning in history for my worth is Bud Light's real men of genius, carlton's made from beer or Guiness's worth the wait.

Hard earned thirst is up there with 'shrimp on the barbie' in terms of Australian cultural cringe for me, but that's just my opinion, and no thanks, I don't need to say mate or wear an Akubra to be Aussie.

Anonymous said:

I suspect, 4.52, that you have never actually seen the VB campaign that helped make it the biggest beer brand in Australia - no toothless, bearded blokes to be seen. You may be suffering from the same mistaken belief that VB is a bogan beer - because that's what the last five years of advertising has turned it into. Not smart.

By the way, Made from Beer and Real Men of Genius are just lines, not really brand positionings. Quite a different thing. Guinness, of course, had the advantage of being a different kind of product, so it differentiation was never an issue.

I do, though, love the Real Men of Genius campaign - and so, obviously, did the people doing the VB - that's why they took a dozen or so of the Bud ideas or similar and wrapped them up into one ad.

As for your micro brewed VB suggestion...well, yes, it confirms why you shouldn't be head of marketing at Foster's. That would be the final nail in the VB coffin. So, going by recent form, I expect we'll see that micro-brewed VB any day now.

Anonymous said:

Can the various people who are ripping the post-hard earned thirst work to shreds answer this:

Why were VB sales declining year-on-year DURING the last 5 years of the hard-earned-thirst campaign?

I'm not suggesting that the current work is great. What I AM saying is that years of declining sales strongly suggest that the old work was losing relevance, and fast.

What say you?

4:26 said:

The answer to the question you pose, 10:30 is both simple and blindingly obvious. The task with twenty-first century VB advertising is to simply build on the hard-earned thirst strategy and positioning in a twenty-first century kind of way. Surely that's not beyond the capability of the gifted Drogladites entrusted with this most important and privileged task.

Anonymous said:

OK, 12.17. So your take is that consumers weren't rejecting the Hard Earned Thirst positioning, but merely rejecting the execution of the strategy.

Any evidence to back up this point of view, or is it just guesswork on your part? I ask this because people seem incredibly strident about this, and given that it was one of Australia's genuinely iconic campaigns its demise probably deserves more than just guesswork.

Sometimes strategies stop being relevant. Sometimes the best thing to do is move on. Sometimes not. Often brands are moved on too quickly. But I'm not sure that this holds true in VB's case.

I WOULD argue, however, that VB's current positioning doesn't do anywhere near enough to differentiate it from its stablemate, Carlton Draught.

Made From Beer and REAL are essentially the exact same positioning. But different internal Fosters teams, and different agencies, can't be brought into line. From the outside it looks pretty stupid.

Anyway, I reckon the VB story is one that a decent marketing journalist should have a proper dig into. Most of us on here are just shooting the shit, and making stuff up. I'm sure Fosters would know EXACTLY how Hard Earned Thirst was doing, and why they killed it.

Either that, or they're a pack of idiots. It's probably worthy of a book to be honest. Dunno how many copies you'd sell, but it'd be a pretty good story.

+1 to 1pm said:

Wow. I turn my back for a second and looks like I ruffled some well-coiffed hair at Droga. With a pair of fake D&G sunnies on top no doubt.

Oh dear 3.45- thanks for the entertainment. I guess the short response is putting cocktails and a spin class in a VB ad - WTF? Even if you're mocking those things, the message got lost on many an average punter and all they saw was those activities associated with the beer. You watch scene after scene of bromance with this campaign and its ridiculous. Many could be forgiven for thinking they were watching Brokeback Beer Ad.

Some very valid comments above other than Droga 3.45. I guess what it comes down to is that VB stood for something once, now it stands for little and that is a shame. Hopefully someone can have another attempt at finding the real heart in this brand - and the Parade ad did go some way - I will concede that even for the Drogladites. The Real campaign however should not have travelled out the arduous testing that Fosters do with all their commercials. (Tagline: Real = True bud campaign ripoff anyhow). Amazed that it tracked well enough in test to make it that far, but I can only assume there were better concepts that didn't see the light of day.

Anonymous said:

Oh, how wrong you are, 2.08. Maybe you were just being generous when you said: "I'm sure Fosters would know EXACTLY how Hard Earned Thirst was doing, and why they killed it."

Anyone who has ever worked for the brewery knows the kind of chaos that has been going on there over the last seven or eight years. (We keep our ears to the ground and hear lots, and none of it good.)

It's clear from what's been appearing on our screens that a bunch of people thought they'd make their name by 'fixing' the country's biggest beer brand. (Reminds me of that then young CD, already famous for not much, who told the head of CUB that he was going to make Foster's famous, only to be told by the unamused exec that it already was.)

As 5.22 points out, moving on doesn't mean starting again. Yes, maybe shooting new commercials to the voice of a long dead Aussie icon wasn't the way of the future, but it sure as hell wasn't the appalling spots with kids having a VB and a souvlki and ending up in hospital. From there on in, it just got worse. Ad after ad taking the piss out of the market and giving them no reason to drink the product.

It gets down to a lack of marketing discipline at both the brewery and at the agencies involved. Is it salvageable? Possibly, because the brand has such a strong heritage that the residual affection for the brand is still there. But it will take hard work and serious advertising people - not just the usual set of "look at me, look at me" agencies that have brought this great brand to it's knees.

Anonymous said:

i don't think any of you advertising poofters have ever actually drank a beer, let alone brewed one. A world without advertising would be almost as good as a world without lawyers and money-changers.

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