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Inspired, intoxicated or bitter? How Australians really feel about beer advertising

n=351, regular beer drinkers
From the legendary ‘matter of fact, I’ve got it now’ Vic Bitter ads to the notorious Toohey’s Dry ‘tongue’ commercial, the history of Australian TV beer advertising is long and illustrious. Given that many of us will have indulged in a few celebratory cold ones over the festive season, now seems an apt time to explore how Australian drinkers feel about some of the more memorable beer commercials of recent times.

Roy Morgan Research has measured the real-time reactions of a group of viewers to seven ads from beer behemoths CUB, XXXX and Lion Nathan. To qualify for the study, respondents were required to have drunk beer in the last four weeks and be aged 18+.

An online tool that tracks and records viewers’ second-by-second emotional involvement and engagement with TV commercials, the Reactor doesn’t lie — and our test audience’s reactions left little room for doubt. So which ad did they like the most? XXXX Gold, take a bow!

XXXX Gold ‘Chicken Rotisserie’: best of seven


The clear favourite was XXXX Gold’s droll ‘Chicken Rotisserie’ commercial, in which a group of mates attempt to rotisserie-cook a chicken over a beat-up old 4WD’s engine. Men and women reacted similarly positively, resulting in an ‘R’ Score (overall likeability) of 60.

The XXXX ad also scored highest for Hot Zone (% of people scoring over 70), Peak Score (highest average achieved), Critical Likeability (second half of ad) and End Score (last three seconds). Interestingly, beer is not mentioned or dwelt on during the commercial, playing a supporting role instead (the friends are all holding stubbies of XXXX Gold).

Roaming deer and pub hi-jinx

The dream-like Toohey’s Extra Dry ‘Nocturnal Migration’ commercial, featuring herds of deer roaming the night streets, clubbing, and finding love, was especially well-liked by female viewers; while the quirky neo-colonial, very Tasmanian ‘Waterfall’ ad for Boags Draught was a hit with male viewers. (Both beers are owned by Lion Nathan.)

Carlton Draught’s famous ‘Slow Motion’ commercial attracted mixed responses. Aimed squarely at young males (and liked more by men than women), it depicts a series of classic pub ‘fails’ (appalling darts, daggy dancing, spilling beer on girls), played out in slow motion against a cheeky reimagining of a classic opera tune. Moments where the humour veers into crassness, however, met with immediate negative reactions from male and female viewers alike.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Renowned for their big budgets and limitless creativity, beer commercials are rarely boring, and the results of our Reactor test show strong engagement from viewers.

“Humour seems to work extremely well for this kind of advertising, and the most popular commercials tended to be funny. Quirkiness — as in the Toohey’s Dry ad or surreal Hahn Super Dry ‘Drummer’ commercial — was also well received.

“Of course, likeability isn’t the end of the story. Viewers need to recall the product being promoted, and it was here that Vic Bitter excelled with its ‘Destiny’ ad, despite it being one of the least liked commercials.

“These days, when viewers have more TV channels than ever to choose from, not to mention online alternatives, the most successful ads need to be both likeable and memorable – or risk sinking without a trace.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5215

Learn more about the Reactor

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%