15
Oct 07

Carling C2: Publog Taste Test

FT + Pumpkin Publog3 comments • 1,677 views

A trendy concept in marketing currently is occasion-based marketing – the idea is that rather than advertise the product, you advertise the occasion in which the product might be consumed. This is what the ad campaign for C2 – Carling’s low strength sorry, sorry, mid-strength 2% ABV lager – was based on. The quick pint in the lunch break. The swift quencher after a round of golf. The breathalyser-dodging bevvy – no, wait, that wasn’t one.

Anyway, it’s taken more than a while for the Publog Review Team to get its hands on a pint of draught C2, but the day has now arrived, courtesy of the Shipwright’s Arms near London Bridge. And we can exclusively reveal the real actual occasion when you might want to drink it:

You know when it’s a hottish day, and you’ve had a walk to the pub, and you’re very thirsty, so you want a pint of lager, but you don’t want to have a pint’s head start on anyone, because you’re not totally sure when food is coming, but on the other hand if you have a soft drink, you’ll finish it very quickly, and looking round it’ll be you who has to go to the bar again?

That’s when you want a pint of Carling C2.

Any other time? Forget it.

Actually, no, Carling C2 (search it by its name, boys) serves an important psychological role too. If you’re a habitual lager drinker, you might be annoyed by your bitter-drinking friends teasing you about how your lager tastes of nothing and is really watery. Well, Carling C2 is to the lager drinker as lager is to the bitter drinker – so it’s a really crucial exercise in empathy. In fact if anyone – other than some kind of gill-bearing merman – were to be a regular C2 drinker, you the lager drinker could probably lord it over them as your bitter rockist friends do you. But this won’t happen.

It’s not that C2 is nasty. They’ve done their best to make it quite drinkable, and it tastes a tiny bit like soda, inasmuch as it tastes of anything. Which it doesn’t. You could drink a pint with no ill effects or nasty aftertaste. But no good effects. Or nice aftertaste. Or taste. It’s not even beer flavoured.

It feels like a product of misguided research. Early on in the development process they probably decided 2% was the ceiling for a credibly low-alcohol lager. If they’d gone for 2.5%, or 3%, they might have preserved enough taste to make the exercise worthwhile. But no – in the rush for the “white space” of product development they’ve made something nobody could love. The joke is that in the gulf of time between C2 being announced (almost 3 years ago!) and actually arriving in pubs, bitter mild has become one of the more fashionable drinks around, at a reasonable – and flavourful – 3%.

Comments

  1. 1
    Pete on 16 Oct 2007 #

    Time for the scientific taste test if it is indeed like Carling Black Label watered down with soda water.

  2. 2
    CarsmileSteve on 16 Oct 2007 #

    it’s not that good pete, honest. if it had soda in it would be fizzier…

  3. 3
    Tom on 16 Oct 2007 #

    I think a tiny bit of flat soda water and quite a lot of normal water would capture the experience well.

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