John Boston: Australia Day 'One Dayer'

2016 | Sydney

We were tasked with launching John Boston – a true blue Aussie beer designed for true blue beer drinkers looking to try craft. We had to crack the overcrowded craft beer market and find a way to make John Boston memorable enough that he could break into the top 3 selling craft beers within the Endeavour Drinks Group.



Australia’s first beer brewer, John Boston, wasn’t good at much.  

It was the 1790’s in NSW and the original Aussie battler, John – after a string of failed career ventures – decided to give beer brewing a go. Sadly for John, his beer was terrible. He ended up packing up, jumping on a ship and was eaten by cannibals somewhere in the South Pacific. #ClassicJohn

Over two hundred years later, as tribute to the ‘father of beer brewing’, another crafty brewer named his own actually-delicious beverage after the late, great(ish) John Boston. And that’s where our story starts.

We were tasked with launching John Boston beer to market; to hero his legacy (minus the cannibalism). We needed to help John Boston to do something he’d never done before – outperform his competitors.

The challenge: popularity of craft beer exploded in recent years and competition was fierce. The ‘big boys’ in the beer category were all adding craft to their portfolio, with the top 3 brands by sales dominating the category with 48% share. Our task was to rank within the top 3 Australian craft beer brands across the Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG).


While our competitors were spending their media dollars on targeting the typical ‘craft drinker’ – hip, young, inner-city dwellers who are ‘cashed up, clued up and cultured’, our idea was target the kind of guy John Boston would’ve wanted to have a beer with, were he still around today: a true blue Aussie bloke.

He’d already be a beer drinker for sure, but only dipping a toe in the waters of craft. To win this guy over, we had to take the ‘hipster’ out of craft.

Our strategy was ‘sell the man to sell the beer’; to use JB and his status as the original Aussie battler to convince our would-be-crafters that we were ‘true-blue’ and worth a try.



There were two parts to our strategy of ‘selling the man to sell the beer’; first, we needed to get the story of John Boston out there amongst 25-35 Aussie gateway drinkers. Then we needed to celebrate his legacy – a seriously delicious, unpretentious Aussie craft beer.  

Part One: Telling the story of John Boston

Just like our namesake, we didn’t start with much – one hilarious sixty second video and a pretty modest budget to sustain us over two, one month bursts; that and the aforementioned delicious beer. We needed the beer to do as much talking for us as the video asset; we had to get it in the hands of Aussie blokes who could spread the word on our behalf.

The good news for us is that young men spend significantly more time watching videos online than any other demographic. We launched our 60 second spot via YouTube (TrueView) and supported it with pre-rolls across the Yahoo!7 network.

We also partnered with influencer community, Social Soup, and sent 600 modern-day John Boston’s our delicious beer to trial. The catch? They had to share the loot with a group of mates over a barbeque, and together create (and share) content that captured the essence of JB’s enterprising personality under the hashtag #unexpectedgenius.  

Part Two: Celebrate the man

After introducing JB, we wanted to get right down to celebrating the man, the myth, the legend. What better day to celebrate the Australia’s first beer brewer than Australia Day.

We partnered with our mates at Triple M, the larrikins of the airways, a team of talent we know JB would have loved to share a beer with. It also helps they’re the number one reaching station against our target audience.

Together we created the greatest celebration of all things ‘Straya’; we threw the biggest game of backyard cricket this country had ever seen, set on Australia’s biggest backyard, Sydney Harbor.

‘The John Boston Aus One-Dayer’ was born.

To recruit some of Australia’s finest Aussie blokes and elite backyard cricketers, we ran a three week on-air competition where listeners could win their spot on the team by calling after hearing specific Aussie tunes. The call-out hit nearly half a million Aussie blokes – 115k via radio and a further 383k via online event promotion.

We then recruited some mates who knew a little more about the game than we did – Aussie cricket legends Ed Cowan and Mike Whitney, who padded up to captain our two sides. Because no game of backyard cricket is complete without tunes, we invited two of Australia’s favourite live acts – Thirsty Merc & James Reyne – along to set the soundtrack. 

Bennelong Point, the scene of John Boston’s first (and last) foray into brewing, made for the perfect pick-up point to transport our 150 guests to our ‘bloody huge barge, where cricket wicket eskies (filled with ice-cold John Boston) marked our stumps.



While John Boston might not have had a happy ending, this campaign certainly did.

We drove an average sales increase of +68% – absolutely smashing our targets of +20%.

Not only did he crack EDG’s top three Australian craft beer brands, he hit the number two spot. Even better, by February he was the number one selling craft beer in BWS.

We reached over 2.8 million Aussies blokes with John’s video story, and put his beer into the hands of over 7.9k Aussies to trial (600 influencers, each with 8-12 mates). They then went on to create 1000 pieces of unique content: 407 reviews and 650 photos. A whopping 78% said they would keep buying John Boston, with 20% having already gone back for more at time of survey.

To top it all off, in the week of our Aus One-Dayer, the beer recorded its HIGHEST EVER sales, representing an uplift of +132% to its nearest comparable promotion.

Finally, something for John to be proud of.

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