Carlton & United Breweries has launched a new advertising campaign aimed at getting adults to switch from soft drinks to Carlton Zero.
The new ad will air across the country during AFL and NRL broadcasts and is already copping criticism from health groups.
The ad shows two male office workers at lunch with one enjoying a Carlton Zero with a salad, while the other pours a can of cola.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Michael Thorn told News Corp the ad was attempting to normalise alcohol and “groom the next generation of drinkers.”
However, many consumers have questioned on social media how it could normalise alcohol consumption when it contains zero alcohol.
CUB noted that Carlton Zero was being marketed to adults in strict accordance with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.
CEO Peter Filipovic said: “Adults want alternatives to sugary soft drink and this campaign highlights that Cartlon Zero has 10 times less sugar than regular soft drink.
“It’s giving people the freedom to enjoy their favourite drink in places where beer is not usually consumed. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy Carlton Zero at lunch time at the office or if you are a designated driver.”
Carlton Zero went on sale in September last year. It is the first non-alcoholic beer in CUB’s 180-year history and has been one of its most successful launches, outstripping expectations with around $10 million in sales already.
Filipovic said: “We launched Carlton Zero because beer lovers told us they wanted more opportunities to enjoy beer responsibly.
“Its enormous success proves drinkers have been crying out for a non-alcoholic beer that actually tastes like beer.”
Non-alcohol, low alcohol and mid strength beer now make up a quarter of CUB sales. Bottle shop sales of non-alcoholic beer have increased 13-fold in the six months after Carlton Zero’s launch compared to the same period a year earlier.
Market research by CUB reveals adults of all ages enjoy Carlton Zero, particularly men and women between 25 and 34 with fit and active lifestyles. They are triathletes, runners and footy players.
Women make up 41% of Carlton Zero’s market, compared to 37% for alcoholic beers.
Carlton Zero is brewed using the same methods and ingredients as other CUB beers to ensure it actually tastes like a beer. The alcohol is removed at the end of the brewing process by reducing the pressure on the beer to separate the alcohol from it.
“We know Australians’ drinking habits are changing,” Mr Filipovic said. “We’re innovating to keep pace and the figures show consumers are loving it.”
The TV ad will start airing this month, with a radio and digital campaign to follow.
Watch it below: