Castle Lager Wins a Grand Prix at SABMiller’s Mercatus Awards

Castle Lager was recently awarded a Grand Prix at the SABMiller Global Mercatus Awards. This is the highest marketing accolade within SABMiller Group. SABMiller introduced the annual Mercatus Awards in 2003 to recognise the best performances in the field of marketing throughout their global operations. With over 200 brands from six continents and 75 countries, there are extremely rich pickings from SABMiller’s stable. With this in mind, it is clear to see that Castle Lager’s consistent brand experience offering, close collaboration with all parties involved and sheer determination are what it takes to win such an accolade.

The Castle Lager journey back to its premium position is one that has taken place over approximately three years. Castle Lager, SAB Limited’s flagship mainstream brand, was in decline for over a decade owing to fluctuations in strategy and changing market dynamics. With a rapidly growing black middle class, the brand began to communicate on a platform of individual aspiration, which was not true to what it had stood for over the decades. The brand had moved away from its core proposition and alienated its traditional consumers. Changes were required to ensure that the brand communicated with consistency. The brand purpose, narrative and insight were all placed under the spotlight to get Castle Lager back to its core DNA.

The essence of the brand has always been about bringing South Africans together. Being at the centre of both intimate friendships, as well as moments of national unity, allowed Castle to bridge the divide of racial groups in a country whose history was full of division. Castle needed to get back to this essence. This new focus was clearly articulated in their new insight in the brand ladder:
Castle’s turnaround was deliberately managed around two key phases of rejuvenation – bringing the core proposition to life with the use of a platform and promoting in market with fresh consistency.