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Castle Lager to embrace township economy in new brand positioning

Castle Lager has always been a brand that represents the values of resilience and unity, bringing together South Africans, through our favourite pastimes, for 127 years. The brand has also played its part by supporting homegrown talent by backing the Springboks, the Proteas and Bafana Bafana for decades. Now, they have repositioned themselves as a beacon of hope for community businesses and through this will uplift local businesses to the benefit of the township economy.
Wendy Bedforth, brand director at Castle Lager
Wendy Bedforth, brand director at Castle Lager

Wendy Bedforth, Castle Lager brand director, shares more...

Can you tell us why the need for a brand repositioning?

Castle Lager has always been a brand that has represented the very best of what it means to be South African, driving a sense of hope and pride in our country.

The past two years have resulted in a shift in the importance of specific values to South Africans, such as authenticity and community – we have seen community playing an increasingly more important role, with South Africans looking inside rather than outside for inspiration and growth. These are values Castle has always had at its heart, but will bring more front and centre in our messaging.

Can you elaborate more on the new brand direction? What do you hope to achieve?

Our aim as Castle is always to evoke a strong sense of pride and hope in South Africa – as a brand that has been built on this South African spirit for the past 127 years, we want to ensure we are evolving with the characteristics of being South African.

We want to tell the stories of courageous optimism, resilience and unity we see in our communities every day; giving our consumers a strong feeling of pride in their communities that drive South Africa forward day by day. It is through these characteristics and the beauty of our communities that make our country so special – this is what we want to focus on going forward.

BizcommunityHow will this be rolled out?

Our new positioning will be rolled out in many exciting ways. We have a brand new TVC and radio ads (with tailored community-specific messages depending on the station) which bring to life the power of our communities in showcasing our resilience and courageous optimism.

These elements will be supported with a new look and feel (visual identity), which has been launched and consumers will start to see this coming to life in the upcoming weeks on digital and trade.

Castle Lager to embrace township economy in new brand positioning

In the coming weeks and throughout the year, we will also be rolling out localised murals, point-of-sale items and beautiful merchandise which are vibrant and representative of the beauty of our Kasi’s. Then, Castle Lager will continue to focus on activities that pay tribute to the communities that make South Africa great, through using our sports sponsorships and other exciting initiatives.

Tell us more about the new TVC?

Our new TVC really brings to life the power of our communities to drive us as South Africa forward. We have seen in many instances throughout our history that it is within our communities that we find hope and lift each other up. Our TVC is a representation of the characteristics of being South African, courageous optimism, resilience and Ubuntu.

We see this as we go through the narrative of Temba’s bar having an electrical fault and a fire starting, to the point where his community are the ones who begin the rebuilding process and encourage action to help restore what they all have lost. In the end, we see everyone in the newly built Kwa Mahlangu bar after having come together to make it happen. As a brand, Castle Lager wants to celebrate our communities as these characteristics are inherent in every one of them, every day they inspire actions that create hope for a better South Africa.

Who was all involved in the new TVC? From the brief, to the creative process, to production, etc.

Throughout the process of unpacking this new direction and journey for Castle, we have placed the consumer at the centre. At every step of the process, we ensured to take the work to our people and get their feedback. We worked closely with our research partners, Culture Foundry & KLA and creative partners, Ogilvy & Sunshine Gun to make sure that we were speaking to South Africans in a way they can relate to and resonate with. We worked with Egg Films and our very talented director Lebogang Rasethaba.

When it came to shooting our new TVC, with every line in the script, we built and worked with our cast, who come from communities all around South Africa, to ensure that we were bringing our message to life in a real and authentic way.

The brand has also played its part by supporting homegrown talent. Can you tell us about any upcoming initiatives?

We have some really exciting initiatives coming up this year. The first is that we are looking at ways to ensure that every single service we procure is local.

Later this year we will be launching a campaign to support the growth of our Kasi businesses, which are fundamental to the revival of our economy after the last two years. We will be doing this by supporting local businesses by leveraging our brand collateral. We know that when the Kasi economy grows, South Africa grows but many of these Kasi businesses are unknown to a wider audience or still growing their businesses. We want to play a role in showcasing them and sharing their expertise with the rest of South Africa.

Throughout the year we are also going to partner with local content creators to help bring to life the stories and essence of their Kasi’s. We want to showcase the beauty of our communities through art, dance, poetry and music – we will use these local content creators to do this in their own expression.

We have also started to develop our localised murals which can be found in a number of our Kasi’s throughout South Africa. In order to localise these murals and bring to life the essence of these individual communities, we are working with street artists from these Kasi’s to interpret and create their expression of their community and what makes it so special.

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