The market is also influenced by the fact that a teetotaler is often regarded with a mixture of suspicion and derision by the very customers that would need to buy NAB/LAB. A person who does not drink alcohol is seen as someone who will lessen the jovial spirit at any social gathering. A sober person among the drunk is somewhat out of place. The drinking people feel it and that person is often not welcome.
Kaliber overcame this in a number of ways. First, it was produced by the Guinness corporation, which is associated with one of the most famous beers in the world. Thus there was at least a chance this NAB would stand a chance of at least being considered. Second, the choice of a Billy Connolly as a spokesperson was an attempt to transform the idea that non-alcoholic drinks are not fun into the idea that one could indeed have a good time while drinking them. Connolly’s public image was one of the drunken Scotsman, a near out-of-control comedian who lived legendary wildlife of debauchery.
This was an attempt to overcome the most basic and overriding problem that Kaliber faced: that non-alcoholic drinks are somehow less macho and/or feminine than alcoholic drinks. A perhaps disarming, but in hindsight, the brilliant move was to have Connolly talk about the beer in a serious manner. His deadpan delivery of the advert was not expected, but in a sense placed the beer as a straight man to the funny man of alcoholic beer. By the straight man is just as much part of the entertainment within a comedy routine, and by association, a NAB such as Kaliber could be part of the overall, happy social experience of a pub. The idea was to suggest that alcohol is not the defining factor, but rather the sociability and conviviality of the drinking situation. The choice of Billy Connolly as a spokesman personified this idea.
The basic reason for the repositioning of Kaliber was that, while the market was growing and Kaliber had a 30% share of that market, but by 1989 the market had stagnated and it appeared that low alcohol beers would become dominant as the public perceived them as tasting better and also that they were easier to brew.
The Kaliber brand needed to be repositioned because it was in danger of losing its leadership position, not because of any particular weaknesses within the product itself, but because of the changing fortunes of the NAB versus LAB dynamic in general.
The campaign involved Connolly in sober tones stating that you could drink as much NAB as you liked, but that LAB could get you drunk, with all the bad possibilities thus appearing. The results were startling and overwhelmingly positive. Thus awareness of Kaliber as an alcohol-free brand rose from 40% to 70%, and preference for NAB in general over LAB, in general, grew from 39% to 52%. As the case study states, between July 1989 and the end of 1990, Kaliber’s share grew from 12% to 20%.