After going pretty hard on the Crown Lager claims over the last few weeks, I wasn’t going to write anything about SABMiller’s announcement this week of CUB’s disappointing results. Everyone knows Lion is eating CUB’s lunch, there was no need to point it out.
But this morning I saw that CUB was advertising for a new Head of Innovation and, after reading the ad, I couldn’t help but think the two things might be related.
Now, we’re not MBAs here at Australian Brews News (if we were, we might not have chosen a business model guaranteed not to make money), but I still can’t help thinking that when a brewery advertises for a head of innovation, the word ‘brewing’ or even ‘beer’ might be used somewhere in the ad.
Sure, the ad starts with “At Carlton United Breweries (CUB) we believe in beer”, but then nothing. There’s no, “You will have a strong understanding of current global beer trends”; no, “you will be passionate about developing the beer category”, not even a “have a functional understanding of beer styles and brewing techniques.” Instead it’s all FMCG and strategic innovation pipelines. So, the thinking seems to be, if you’ve developed and marketed a toothpaste, you can develop a beer.
I’m not sure exactly what strategic innovation pipelines are, but one of the few CUB products that has been launched lately and survived to see its first birthday is Great Northern Lager. The strategic innovation pipeline for that seemed to be:
“Hmmm, Nielsen figures show that XXXX Summer Bright Lager is selling really well. We’d better make one of them too. Tell the brewers to get cracking…that’s right, super crisp, no bitterness, just like Summer Bright.”
“Ok, now for marketing it. Let’s see, clear bottle, of course. It’s a new beer so we want to give it a bit of history. Didn’t we buy and shut down a string of Queensland breweries ? Cairns? Perfect, we’ll just name it after that and play up the local aspect. What, the Cairns Brewery had a marlin on the logo, even better! Blokey and outdoorsy, we can show blokes fishing and drinking beer in the ads.”
“Nice morning’s work lads!”
Hardly ‘out of the box’ thinking there. Perhaps it’s no wonder that SABMiller this week reported CUB volumes declined by 8 per cent in the quarter, 13 per cent if you include the loss of Corona and other international brands.
The Australian lager industry continued to be affected by the loss of market share to other alcoholic beverages together with subdued consumer sentiment leading to a significant reduction in volumes. Excluding the effect of the termination of some licensed brands and an increase in trade stock levels in the corresponding period of the prior year, CUB lager volumes declined by 8% in the quarter, marginally behind the market. In total, including these effects, CUB lager volumes were down 13% on a pro forma basis. We are making good progress with synergy delivery and with plans to strengthen CUB’s brand equities and retail engagement.
While trying to spin it by describing the results as “marginally behind the market”, Nielsen figures suggest the market was down by just under 5 per cent, so (if my maths are right, no promises there) CUB underperformed the market by more than 30 per cent.
By comparison, on a moving annual total basis, Nielsen puts CUB down 8.4 per cent for the year to June while Lion was down 2.5 per cent. It will be interesting to see Lion’s figures when they’re released.
In essence, things are still bleak for the total beer market, but not looking good at all for CUB. I’m starting to feel guilty I’ve had their marketing team down in the archives for the last few weeks rather than innovating their way out of the mess.
Anyway, if you’re bored with Red Bull, deodorant and toothpaste, there’s a job going at Carlton United Marketers. [MK]
Head of Innovation
Job No.: 742268
Work type: Permanent
Location: VIC Metro
At Carlton United Breweries (CUB) we believe in beer and we’re proud when people enjoy life and friendship because of what we do. An exciting opportunity is now available to lead our Innovation agenda across the business.
Reporting to the Marketing Director and operating as part of the Marketing Leadership team, this role will have accountability for leading new product development, major packaging and product delivery initiatives across the CUB portfolio. In addition, key deliverables include strategic development of an innovation pipeline, implementing the end-to-end launch of key projects in conjunction with the broader Brand Marketing Managers.
Accountabilities will include; but not limited to:
- Identify, lead and develop strategic innovation pipeline aligned to category and brand strategies
- Explore new lead markets and users to develop and integrate new innovation technology
- Assist categories in the understanding of their market and identify potential gaps within their portfolio
- Development of new brands, product delivery and packaging initiatives to deliver solutions for consumers and customers
You will be a motivated and driven marketing professional with the expertise in leading and transforming innovation across a successful brand. You’re proven track record within innovation (ideally within FMCG) coupled with demonstrated experience within new product development within a changing environment will secure your success. Your ability to think strategically and ‘outside the box’ will allow you to forge strong relationships with your key stakeholders and deliver results.
This is a great opportunity to be part of the CUB team and make your mark within the business.
At CUB we believe in beer and we’re proud when people enjoy life and friendship because of what we do. In 2012 we are on a mission to ensure this iconic brand of ours is continually loved by all Australians. In our portfolio we have leading brands like, Carlton Draught, VB, Pure Blonde, Peroni, Miller and Strongbow cider. With around 2000 employees, our products are sold in more than 45 countries. That’s a lot to be proud of. We are passionate about producing, marketing and distributing the best beer portfolio in Australia, with our brands at the heart of the great times and great experiences for our consumers. As a result our people enjoy exciting and diverse career opportunities.
Love big brands — apply today!
27 Jul 2012 Aus. Eastern Standard Time
3 Aug 2012 5:00pm Aus. Eastern Standard Time