The Unexpected Commercial


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In a declining beer market and with a budget that is peanuts compared to the big brands, the small Belgian beer brand Rodenbach needs to be smart to stand out. Especially as they want to shift towards a younger – more critical - target group (20-35 yrs). That’s why Rodenbach decided to become sponsor of “Café The Mole”, a brand matching talk show after Belgium’s most popular TV-show “The Mole”. The objectives: boost the sponsorship by presenting the brand and product in a refreshing, unexpected way to the high-demanding audience.


To do so we turned a problem into an opportunity. We offered a solution for the fact that TV advertising always gets your appetite going, but then leaves you empty-handed. We created a classic beer commercial which was anything but a classic commercial. It actually became an invitation to come and drink a refreshing Rodenbach live on air, in the setting of the commercial. By doing so we did not only offer the thirstiest and fastest people the satisfaction of drinking Rodenbach. They also starred in a real-life drinking shot on tv.


Rodenbach’s brand claim is “Cheers to the Unexpected”, because the beer tastes totally different than what it looks like. To grab attention, the beer sponsored “Café The Mole”, a talk show that discusses the ins and outs immediately after Belgium’s most popular TV show “The Mole”. The programme is targeted straight at Rodenbach’s new target audience (20-35 yrs old). It’s a reality game in which one person sabotages the group leaving the candidates and the audience to guess who is the mole. In most cases it’s the least suspected person. To live up to expectations of the audience, we wanted to create a commercial which was as unexpected as the mole himself.


In front of a record audience of 1.000.000 people and just 3 minutes before the première of the long-awaited new season of “The Mole”, Rodenbach aired the commercial. And it was something completely else than what it seemed. At first sight, it appeared to be a cliché beer commercial: with a charming pub, tasty-looking pouring shots, attractive actors and a mouth-watering packshot. But then came a surprising twist, as in reality the commercial turned out to be a real-time invitation to not stay in your couch without this delicious beer, but to come and drink a real refreshing Rodenbach, freshly poured in the setting of the commercial: “Café The Mole”, a talk show aired right after the broadcast of “The Mole”.


We reserved a table for the fastest – and thirstiest – people. And only one hour after we whetted their appetite, they were welcomed on air and starred in a real-life drinking shot, showing the big audience how unexpectedly refreshing a Rodenbach really is. Needless to say nowadays reality adds more credibility than advertising, especially for our younger target group.

By bridging the advertising and the editorial space in an unexpected way, this eye-catching launch of a sponsorship resulted in a remarkable sales increase of 8% compared to the year before. Not bad in a declining beer market (-2,4% in 2017).

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