David Golding: my MAA blast from the past – Castlemaine XXXX

Castlemaine XXXX – Saatchi & Saatchi 1986

A simple strategic challenge answered brilliantly. The Australians don’t have a long brewing heritage, unlike the Germans or French. To overcome this, the Castlemaine guys celebrated the Australians’ brilliance at drinking beer. The campaign was a masterpiece of how advertising should work. It was economical, beautifully written* and performed, and semiotically perfect – the heat and dryness shimmering off the screen. ‘Overdone it on the sherry’ was the pinnacle for me, but the whole campaign was fantastic.

Castlemaine XXXX was ultimately killed off by Foster’s who squeezed its distribution to practically nothing. Long-term that was probably a mistake. Categories work best when there are two players – Coke and Pepsi, Audi and BMW, AMV and A&E. Although we did a good job with Brad and Dan for Foster’s, it would have been so much easier with someone else reminding us Pommies that the Aussies bloody love their beer, and couldn’t give a XXXX about much else.

*Creative director who oversaw the whole campaign was James Lowther, creative team on this film was Mick Petherick and Alex Taylor.

David Golding was one of the co-founders of adam&eveDDB. He is setting up a new creative communications company with adam&eve co-founder James Murphy and former BBH London CCO Ian Heartfield.

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