Disclaimer: I don't actually like Carlsberg. The taste, I mean. Yet somehow I seem to end up drinking it. And that's kind of the point.

This article isn’t about Carlsberg the beer. It’s about Carlsberg the unbelievably successful marketing machine.

Let’s take a look at some of Carlsberg’s best marketing efforts.

Video content

In its most popular YouTube video of all time, Carlsberg sets up a ‘friend test’ whereby people call one of their friends and pretend they’re short of money in a dodgy poker game to see if they’ll come to the rescue.

Then the set explodes into an orgy of Carlsberg-branded euphoria, obviously. 

This innuendo-laden mimicry of an erotic drama puts 50 Shades of Grey to shame.

And it really makes me want a beer, which I suppose is the desired effect.

I also like this series of short animations Carlsberg did as part of its Vintage Label campaign.

The clips looks really good and there are some genuinely interesting facts in there. 

Experiential marketing

Writing a post about Carlsberg without mentioning its experiential marketing efforts would probably constitute a crime against journalism or something.

I’m talking specifically about its ‘Probably the best poster in the world’ campaign in London’s Brick Lane. 

Carlsberg poster

Carlsberg poster

The poster dispensed free beer to a growing crowd of cheapskate daytime drinkers, and generated a deservingly massive buzz across social and mainstream media. 

Carlsberg poster

Carlsberg poster

Here’s the official video of the campaign from Carlsberg’s YouTube channel:


Carlsberg uses some really nice imagery on Twitter to promote its range of non-drinkable grooming products.

In this great example of hashtag hijacking, Carlsberg gives a nod to Steven Gerrard in these tweets. It may not be Liverpool’s official sponsor anymore but clearly there’s still love between them.

Carlsberg also makes great use of infographics on its Twitter feed, such as this amusing one about its founder being (probably) the world’s first hipster:

Or this slightly more recent one urging people to take a break from social media and talk to actual people. Whilst drinking Carlsberg of course. 

Conclusion: probably the most successful use of humour in the marketing world

That might be pushing it slightly, but clearly Carlsberg has managed to hit the mark when it comes to using playful humour in its marketing campaigns. 

The problem with brands trying to be funny is if they don’t pull it off the whole thing becomes a cringe-inducing mess, but it’s obvious Carlsberg really knows its target market and its content reflects that fact. 

Perhaps I was a little bit harsh in my opening paragraph, too. I did once drink a really, really cold Carlsberg Export in a beer garden on a sweltering summer’s day, and do you know what? It was actually alright. 

Jack Simpson

Published 27 July, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)


James Gilbert, Marketing Communications at Asset Control

Spot on. You would think the (completely undeniable) fact that it doesn't actually taste very nice would be a stumbling block to its success. But no... we lap it up. A case of brand superseding product, if there ever was one.

almost 3 years ago


Dr Sydney Bush, Prof of CardioRetinometry® at Scientist, Prof of Life Extension

Alcohol in all forms has a slightly beneficial effect on the arteries which is quickly lost as we drink more and becomes damaging. CardioRetinometry® studies (the direct measure of arterial health and disease via the retina) can lead to a beer with life EXTENDING qualities rather than life shortening effects. I have registered
Which of these companies is going to commission the research exclusively for their beer to grab the market?
Sydney J. Bush (Prof)

11 months ago

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