Direct > Sectors


COLENSO BBDO, Auckland / HEINEKEN / 2016


Gold Cannes Lions
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DB Export has always been a beer that had led the way in New Zealand – the creative platform that this work was operating under was ‘DB Export – Made By Doing’ which celebrates the pioneering history of both the beer and also its founder, Morton Coutts.

Our idea was to turn drinking beer into a selfless act of environmental heroism. So we took the surplus yeast leftover after we finished brewing DB Export, and used it to create a biofuel called DB Export Brewtroleum. Brewtroleum emits 8% less carbon than traditional petroleum, so every time a man drinks DB Export, he’s helping to save the entire world.


Across all consumer facing communications, we called on men of New Zealand for their help. The environment faces many threats, but simply by drinking DB Export they could help save the entire world.

We launched with our hero site – a completely rebranded Gull petrol station in the middle of Auckland. Promoting this location with radio partnerships we experienced kilometre long queues down the street on our first day.

Supported by digital, social, outdoor and TV, Brewtroleum rolled out to every single one of the 62 Gull petrol stations across New Zealand for 6 weeks. This allowed nearly all New Zealanders the opportunity to fill their cars with Brewtroleum.

We inserted in-pack vouchers for $5 off Brewtroleum fill ups and when they toped their car up, they received a discount voucher for DB Export Beer. This created a virtuous circle that helped drive sales of both beer and Brewtroleum.


Up and down the country men rallied to the planet’s defence. Thanks to their dedicated drinking we turned 58,000 tonnes of yeast slurry into 300,000 litres of Brewtroleum. Brewtroleum was sold on pump at 62 stations around the country, meaning that consumers were essentially paying $2.05/litre for our piece of direct marketing.

During the campaign period 8.6 million bottles of DB Export were sold.

The campaign resulted in a 50,000kg reduction in carbon emissions, and DB Breweries went on to win the nation’s highest sustainability award.

Heineken are now rolling the idea out through 50 of their biggest global breweries, potentially saving millions of tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere.


Despite the innovative nature of the ‘Brewtroleum’ campaign, this was at its heart a simple, direct response approach - ask consumers to do something very specific and then give them a good reason why they should.

With the beer market in decline, we were faced with the need to drive an incredibly direct change in our consumers behaviour – to drink more beer. Without consumers responding and drinking DB, we would be unable to make the Brewtroleum biofuel. This gave every element of our campaign a clear and simple call to action – drink DB Export, save the entire world.


Men aged 25-34 are the biggest beer consumers both in New Zealand, and worldwide. This demographic is often painted as self-centred, blokey, and prone to moments of stupidity and shortsightedness.

But our research into our core target market unearthed some more noble traits than the usual cliches suggest. We discovered that these men want to make a difference. They want to make their mark on the world and are more invested in their environment than we give them credit for. Sure, they’re still often blokey. Still prone to moments of stupidity but with underlying character traits that gave us a great way in.

The simple call to action across all of the Brewtroleum campaign –drink DB Export and save the entire world – created a fun permissibility around beer drinking. It allowed NZ men,who had been turning away from the beer category to feel good about themselves for choosing us.


Beer consumption is in steep decline globally, no where more so than in New Zealand where it is at its lowest since World War 2. We were briefed to create a TV ad to try and address this decline but we soon realised that Kiwi blokes didn’t need another cliché beer ad. What they needed was a brilliant reason to re-embrace (and drink more) beer. So that’s what we gave them.

We set about creating a way that men could save the planet by doing what they love, an idea that would help men justify drinking more beer by turning drinking into a selfless act of sustainability. DB Export Brewtroleum. In doing so, we created an entire new layer of permissibility around DB’s products.

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