Hansa Case Study

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Hansa Pilsner was the first light beer to be introduced into the South African market. In the early 70's the American light beer market was gaining success. South African breweries (SAB) was to be the first pioneer to enter this new market - and that light beer was Hansa Pilsner. The name played on its Germanic heritage, as Germany at that time, was known world wide for producing some of the finest beers available.

Question 1

Prior to the launch of Hansa Pilsner, the South African government imposed additional excise duties on beer. This meant having a beer with a reduced alcohol by volume(ABV) content, would mean lower duties, thus opening up the door of opportunity for higher profits.

Following the trend from the American market, light beers were gaining popularity and increased its share in the beer market. SAB decided to be the first player to enter this market.

The marketing strategy was to play on the Germanic heritage and to portray Hansa Pilsner as a thirst quenching beer. The campaign was targeted at 18 – 24 year old white males with a tendency towards English speaking males. The product was distributed in pints, cans and dumpies (340 ml) and ABV was 4.5 %. There was advertising in store, press, on radio and cinema.

This campaign failed to inspire the beer drinking population, with sales due more to curiosity than preference. At the time of the launch there were seventeen brands available on the beer market. The marketing campaign of Hansa did not distinguish itself enough from the other 17 brands. In addition public at large were uniformed on what a pilsner was, and that it was a beer with a unique taste.

No marketing research was undertaken by SAB, prior to the launch of Hansa Pilsner. SAB followed trends from overseas, instead of looking at what the wants and needs were of the South African beer consumer at that point in time.

The generation at that time, was not health conscious and didn't view the lower ABV of 4.5 % in a good light; instead Hansa was viewed as a weak beer. The lack of market research meant SAB were out of touch with the consumer and as a result, Hansa did not reinforce the ideas and values of that time - where men were men, and beer was beer, tough, strong, cool and macho. Unfortunately, Hansa was viewed to be none of those.

Motivated by possible higher earnings and watching the growing trend in light beers overseas, SAB has continued with Hansa pilsner which has reinvented itself multiple times over the decades.

Question 2

The first thing would be to define the research objective. Would the introduction of a light beer into the South African market gain support from the majority of white English and Afrikaans speaking males aged 18 – 24 years, in South Africa?

I would propose three fundamental questions, how does the target market perceive beer, secondly what are their current values and thirdly, what would they think of a beer with a lower ABV content?

One of the research approaches would to conduct a survey, in order to gain insight into people's knowledge, beliefs, preferences and satisfaction and to measure these magnitudes in the general population. (Kotler & Keller, 2006) Example Questions to be included in the survey: What is their understanding of a pilsner? What they think of a beer with a lower ABV? In their view, what is the purpose of drinking? These questions will give some insight into the current beer consumer.

Two focus groups should be brought together to discuss their perception of current values, beer and a light beer. One group made up of English speaking white males between the ages of 18 -24 years old, and the other made up of Afrikaans speaking white males between the ages of 18 -24 years old.

The two focus groups should also do a taste test with Hansa Pilsner and see how they viewed this light beer.

Once the data is collected and analyzed, SAB would have a greater insight of what the values and perceptions of the...
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