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    Foster's Reinvents Itself

    After continued declines in shipments, brewer unveils new tagline, online ad campaign.

    CHICAGO -- Taking a cue from Corona and Heineken, Foster's has undergone a serious makeover, complete with a new tagline and strategy, in hopes of regaining an audience and reverse downward sales trends, Advertising Age reported.

    While Foster's shipments declined 10.5 percent in 2005, the import category that includes such leaders as Corona and Heineken grew 7.2 percent, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Since 2000, Foster's shipments are down nearly 30 percent, while the import category's average increased by 27.9 percent.

    Gary Cattell, SABMiller's brand director for Foster's, attributes the decline to an aging demographic. The brand strives to harness the "six-pack drinkers" at the young end of the drinking spectrum, although its median age has drifted into the 30s.

    Another source of problems for Foster's is a shrinking advertising budget. In 2001, $15 million was spent. Last year, that dropped to $5 million, according to Cattell.

    As part of the makeover, gone is the old Foster's definition, "Australian for Beer." Instead, Foster's will now invite young drinkers to "Crack open a friendly."

    "Corona is a holiday in a bottle. Heineken is centered around nightlife. And we want to emphasize sociability," Cattell explained.

    Foster's is also giving up television advertising and instead, opting for massive online advertising. On one Web site, www.heavy.com, Foster's will sponsor a dating game. "That website is built around friendship and sociability," Cattell told Advertising Age. "It epitomizes what Australia is about … and it's slanted right at our target."

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