Iconic Aussie lager Foster's, licensed in the US to SABMiller, has pulled all ads from TV and switched its entire stateside budget to the internet in a daring gamble that US networks hope few other advertisers will emulate.
The new Fosters online campaign kicks-in August 16 via Heavy.com, a music-and-video website targeting young males - many likely attracted by the site's credo: Because TV sucks.
Foster's ad agency Ogilvy & Mather will also produce and post on various other websites a series of comic videos aimed at promoting the quirky brand.
According to SABMiller, the beer's relatively small TV advertising budget ($5 million in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence) couldn't buy enough TV spots to make it worthwhile.
Moreover, TV isn't reaching enough young men. The average age of Foster's drinkers is currently in the region of thirty - older than its target market of males aged 21-25, according to SABMiller's brand director for Foster's, Gary Cattell.
He is dedicated to his groundbreaking but risky strategy. If the initial ads aren't effective, he will tweak them rather than return to TV. But it is unlikely - for time being, anyway - that the rest of the world will follow suit as SABMiller markets the brand only in the USA.
Nonetheless, there will be many eyes at Foster's Group, headquartered in Southbank, Victoria, Australia, keenly fixed on the brand's sales/adspend ratio on the far side of the Pacific Ocean.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff