It's so easy these days to cancel on a friend: just a tap on your smartphone half an hour before, and you can flake out just because you're tired or there's something more exciting on Netflix (unlike the pre-mobile days when you know they'd be sitting there stranded on their own in a bar waiting for you to turn up).
Swedish beer brand Norrlands Guld is targeting such lazy behavior and encouraging people to actually spend time together with a new campaign that centers on a contract friends have to sign when they decide to meet up for a drink.
Devised by agency Akestam Holst, which previously dreamed up such campaigns as printing World Cup tweets on beer and hacking Budweiser's award-winning Tagwords campaign for the brand, the "Beer Contract" can be signed electronically via Sweden’s electronic citizen identification solution, Mobile BankID, when friends agree to meet for a drink. It holds you to a 500 Swedish kroner (US$50) fine if you fail to show.
Technical development is by Akestam Holst's sister agency Making Waves, part of the Scandinavian NoA group of agencies. The contract idea is being supported by an outdoor, print and TV campaign running across Sweden. And, although it's clearly encouraging you to have a Norrlands Guld beer, the brand says the contract can apply to any kind of drink, including non-alcoholic ones and even rival beers.
Charlotte Liljewall, product manager at Norrlands Guld, says in a statement: "Trying to plan a simple get together with a friend can be tricky. Just because you agree to grab a beer doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. To put an end to this half-hearted behaviour, and get more Swedes to meet as agreed, we’ve created a digital tool that helps turn empty words into action with a contract that guarantees a beer will take place. We want the contract to transform ‘maybe we’ll grab a beer’ into a legally binding ‘yes’.”