Newcastle Mocks Bud's 'Bowtie' Can

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Newcastle's ad proved social media can cut both ways
Newcastle's ad proved social media can cut both ways
The product of years of research and spending
The product of years of research and spending

Does this banged-up beer can remind you of anything?

The latest installment in Newcastle Brown Ale's snarky, social-media fueled "No Bollocks" campaign is poking fun at traditional beer advertising and its recent focus on the can. And in this case, Budweiser's much-heralded "bowtie" can is in the cross hairs.

Bud's limited edition can was introduced in April after three years of development and a significant capital investment. Newcastle, part of Heineken USA, is essentially calling it a can with a couple of dents, like something you'd find on the street.

"Introducing the new, Newcastle Brown Ale bow-tie can," Newcastle wrote on its Facebook page. "It's our regular can with the sides pushed in. Innovation! #NoBollocks."

Newcastle found out that social-media snark cuts both ways, however, when a commenter asked if the can is meant to "hide the fact" that Newcastle uses artificial coloring to get its caramel tint, not toasted barley.

That prompted the brand to get serious. "We will explore the situation as well as potential alternatives for this ingredient," Newcastle posted in a reply on Facebook, assuring the commenter that the caramel coloring is "well below the California legal standards, which are the toughest in the country."

Regarding the spoof ad, "we're an irreverent brand, and we're poking fun at industry conventions," Charles van Es, a Heinken USA senior brand director, said in a statement to Ad Age. "In our advertising we also make fun of ourselves all the time. Similar to our neon signs in the on-premise (A $400 sign to sell a $6 beer), our 'No Bollocks' approach takes a refreshingly honest look at the world of beer."

An Anheuser-Busch InBev spokeswoman declined to comment.

The ad was earlier reported by

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