Here's one way to get drinkers to engage with beer brands online: Extend happy hour.
That is the premise of a new digital program that Carlsberg Group is testing at bars in its home country of Denmark. The initiative encourages bar-goers to upload photos to Instagram, tagging them "#HappyBeerTime" and the name of the bar where they are drinking. The pictures then appear on a TV screen at the bar, with each photo adding a few more minutes to happy hour.
Participating bars must connect a special HDMI stick to an HDTV to make it all work. The payoff for the bar is that their name is shared across Instagram. Carlsberg presumably gets a bunch of people posting pictures of themselves drinking the brewer's brands, which include its namesake brew, as well as Tuborg, Kronenbourg and others.
The goal is to bridge the digital world with the bricks-and-mortar bar world. "We believe that the future of online is in offline," said Jens Jermiin, the brewer's VP-digital, media and creative content. "How can we leverage digital in an offline environment where people actually meet and have fun?"
The brewer began testing the program in Denmark last month and has ambitions to extend it to markets in western Europe and Asia. While Carlsberg has a limited U.S. presence, Mr. Jermiin did not rule out bringing the program to the states if bars show interest. It was created by Denmark-based digital agency Konstellation. The shop, whose clients include Lego, is planning to soon open a U.S. office in New York.
The agency's work is "founded in the Nordic tradition of simplicity," Konstelllation partner and chief creative officer Thomas Pries said in an emailed statement. "It should be so simple for the consumer to engage that they don't actually experience the technology."
HappyBeerTime, he added, "is a good example of this. It's a mash-up of two existing consumer behaviors: Happy hour and snapping Instagram pictures."