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COLENSO BBDO, Auckland / HEINEKEN / 2016


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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 – to reframe the permissibility of drinking beer within our target market. 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.

‘Drink DB Export, save the entire world’. A perfect, tongue in cheek excuse the average NZ man needs to have a DB Export.


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.

But this wasn’t just a single site PR stunt. Brewtroleum rolled out to every single one of the 62 Gull petrol stations across New Zealand – turning all of their forecourts into ambient advertising for us – with a through the line campaign (TV, social, digital, outdoor, sampling) supporting it and calling on men to drink more DB Export. The national scale of the campaign meant that nearly all New Zealanders the opportunity to fill their cars with Brewtroleum.


The most important result of this campaign is simple. In a beer market declining at 6% per anum, sales of DB Export grew by an unprecedented 10% making it the fastest growing beer brand in the country.

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 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, which saw DB Breweries go on to win the nation’s highest sustainability award, Innovation in Sustainability.

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


Faced with a category in serious year on year decline we knew that we had to move beyond the usual advertising campaign. Embracing the philosophy of conscious capitalism – doing good for the world whilst also doing good for your business – we decided to do something that had never been done before.

In embracing this provocative approach we not only captured the attention of the world, we created an entirely new layer of permissibility around our product with our target audience and managed to deliver record sales growth in a market that was declining all around us.


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 campaign with the objective of trying to 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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