Magners is the brand owned by Irish drinks company C&C Group and in 2003 they began to look at the possibility of launching their brand in the UK with an eye on London in particular. Industry specialists had warned the company that cider was a declining market which had little or no potential, as cider was viewed as a summer only drink or something that first-time drinkers, students and alcoholics drank. Magners had other ideas they wanted to create a new premium brand vintage cider that placed a premium on the idea of ‘time’ and ‘heritage’ as well as its unique selling point, which was its service (a pint of Magners from the bottle was to be poured over ice). This was used to establish a point of differentiation in the UK cider market. It offered the consumer added value from both a premium drinking experience as well as a prolonged enjoyment of the beverage.
Creative agency Young Euro RSCG came up with the ‘seasons’ campaign using the idea of ‘time’. They created the tagline that’s now famously associated with Magners – ‘nothing added but time’ – a phrase they used to differentiate it from traditional cider to convey a sense of quality craftsmanship in an attempt to overcome the negative perceptions that cider had.
The idea behind the ‘Seasons’ campaign was not only to promote Magners as a year round drink; it was also designed to reinforce the importance of time within another world. The target group for the advert was young adults as the brand set out to distinguish its cider as a trendy but natural drink that could be enjoyed all year round.
The campaign was first tested in Scotland in 2003 before being launched in the rest of the UK – and London in particular – in 2005 with the premise of bringing the Irish orchard to the concrete jungle of London. They launched a major mixed media campaign that featured radio, television, paper and magazine adverts, as well as a huge poster campaign that placed posters in prominent locations like the London underground as well as on huge outdoor billboards. They even went as far as converting Waterloo tube station into a virtual orchard by purchasing every poster site there, turning an artificial, man-made structure into something more natural looking.
The campaign and the adverts were very successful for the brand. Magners had managed not only to enter the UK market, they had rejuvenated the feelings towards cider, changing a negative into a positive and increasing cider sales by 26% between 2005 and 2007. In 2006 it was estimated that Magners, the relatively unknown Irish brand of cider, accounted for 75% of the cider sales growth in the UK, becoming the No 1 bottled alcohol brand in the country, outselling Budweiser, which previously held the title, in as little as 12 months, which was three years ahead of their target. Somehow the brand had managed to become a trendy drink among young people. It gave the consumer who was used to being rushed around all day a feeling that they could take a little time to themselves. They too could enjoy ‘lazing on a sunny afternoon’.
Another method that advertisers use to encourage or manipulate people into consuming their product is the use of psychoanalysis in their adverts. The theme of the advertisement is ‘Cultivation of Nature’. In another theme in the advert, we view that the apples are now being cultivated to produce the drink but the workers are now taking a break to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Another key theme that we see in the advert is the craftsmanship that goes into this product, something that the Magners brand wanted to reinforce. Mangers’ unique selling point was that this product takes time, brewed by masters of their craft.
On one side of the advert we have the masculine characteristics of the craftsmanship and what goes into brewing the drink but this is intertwined with the feminine process of cultivating nature. The advert also appeals to one of our most primary needs, ‘thirst’; the imagery of the hot day and the cool drink makes us feel the need to drink to cool down. We also notice the iconography of the image; the geometric shape of the ladder leaning against the tree makes us think of maleness and again this is a contrast to the femaleness of the curves and disorder that we see in the trees.
Again we get connotations of nature. There are lots of green trees and grass with ripe red apples and the image of the butterfly moving among the apple trees. We get a sense that this drink is made from only natural ingredients that are part of nature.
We are shown young people relaxing in the orchard trying to cool down. A young woman leans back lazily in a chair, fanning herself with a piece of paper; we can nearly feel the heat in the air. She then tilts her head back as she soaks up the sun and one of the men looks back with an admiring stare. The camera pans quickly to a close up of the red apples and then back to her. She can be viewed as a symbol of temptation to this man, the focus of attraction for the heterosexual male audience.
The red apple is symbolic. It gets us thinking about one of the most famous myths in Western culture, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The scene then focuses on a young man pouring a pint of Magners. He watches as the bubbles rise and a drip slowly falls down the side of the glass as the voice over speaks about how we wait all year for it to get hot just so we can cool down again. The drop falling down the glass is a good example of Polysemy being used in this advert, as it not only represents the drink cooling as it hits the ice but also it looks like a bead of sweat dripping in the heat.