Picture: 123RF/JAKUB GODJA
Picture: 123RF/JAKUB GODJA

A 3G-enabled device attached to tavern fridges in East African markets which alerts consumers to where they can find the coldest beer has propelled local agency Promise to the position of digital agency of the year at the prestigious Bookmarks Awards.

The Cold Tracker campaign for the AB InBev Castle Lite brand also won gold for best use of data, interactive mixed media, internet of things and platform innovation. AB InBev was digital brand of the year. The Castle Lite campaign is an example of how harnessing the power of data is becoming central to brand growth and development.

The challenge, says Franscoe Bouwer, who looks after the Castle Lite brand, was obvious and vexing. Guaranteeing a supply of cold product is not always possible in the region. Changing that dynamic, says Bouwer, would engender more brand loyalty and more customers. Under the stewardship of integrated creative director Nic Kostouros, a 3G device was developed and attached to fridges in urban locations or clusters. It tracked fridge temperatures and uploaded fresh data into the cloud every 30 seconds. That information was downloaded onto real-time roadside billboards akin to a golf leaderboard, so that consumers could see where they could find the coldest beverages. The upshot has been a more favourable disposition to the brand and an increase in sales volume.

Promise CEO and founder James Moffatt tells the FM the past pandemic year has lit a firecracker under the digital advertising discipline as consumer behaviour has changed.

"They have rightly become more demanding and more knowledgeable, and know exactly what they want."

Bouwer says this has put pressure on brands to change their thinking and business models to help consumers and even improve society. He says it’s also about using technology to streamline businesses.

In AB InBev’s case, product orders have migrated from call centres to app-based services where more bespoke solutions can be offered to business owners.

Kostouros says as more people shop and engage online, their desire for a more fulfilling experience comes to the fore.

"Now in their dealing with brands, they are looking at peaks of heightened experience and enjoyment way beyond what they might encounter in a more traditional, over-the-counter relationship."

Moffatt says agencies have no choice but to effect more measurable work. He says agencies are "the salt additive" in growing and getting new business and adding value to the lives of customers.

"Brands and their agencies have gone from thinking what they want their customers to do to what they must do for their customers," says Kostouros.

Not long ago, digital marketing and advertising were seen as an experimental tack on to more traditional forms.

That age is over, notes Moffatt, with conventional wisdom suggesting major brands are now putting up to 30% of adspend into digital investments. He believes that that figure in current trading conditions should be closer to 50%.

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