Newcastle Brown Ale: “Taste the Lighter Side of Dark”

Things aren’t always as they appear. Like, for example, Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s dark in color, but surprisingly easy to drink. The duality is captured in the tag line: “Taste the Lighter Side of Dark.”

Our challenge was bringing this idea to life in a style as unique and surprising as the beer itself. We accomplished this through a series of spectacular out-of-home installations in San Diego, and the brand’s first-ever TV campaign — each element executed to engage our audience visually, and communicate Newcastle’s one-of-a-kind taste and brand.

Shadow Art

The 256 square foot shadow sculpture was produced with a single light source and 3,000 real Newcastle Brown Ale bottle caps.

By day, a blank canvas, the shadows come to life at night, which is why we placed the project in the center of San Diego’s night life district, the Gaslamp Quarter.

Trapped In A Schooner

This optical illusion was placed at the main entrance to one of Southern California’s iconic Summer venues, the Del Mar Race Track.

Viewed from the side, it appears to be three enormous shards of glass.

But viewed from precisely the right spot, the optical illusion is revealed: three pieces appear as one larger-than-life pint of Newcastle.

One person climbs inside, another takes a picture of them “Trapped in a Schooner.” Through 2 weeks, more than 50,000 fans have jumped inside.

Human Installations

These life-sized human installations were placed at pubs across San Diego. They immediately drew attention from passers-by and customers, some of whom thought the figures were real.

Each human form was different, each one posed to draw double-takes and closer inspection.


In addition to the out of home spectaculars, our “Lighter Side of Dark” campaign took Newcastle to a place they’ve never been in the 80-year history of the brand … television.

The authentically British commercials were filmed in a neighborhood pub near London. The pub stayed open during filming, inviting its regulars to watch the shoot. The pub’s owner even has a part in the commercials (he’s the bar tender). All three Newcastle spots portray the “Lighter Side of Dark,” by depicting tragic situations, slightly softened with a pint of Newcastle and a dash of dry British wit.

(New York, NY) Newcastle Brown Ale announces today an out of home advertising campaign so innovative that it truly lives up to the beer’s nickname: “The One and Only.” Building on Newcastle’s highly successful appeal to “Taste the Lighter Side of Dark,” three branded public art projects will debut this summer in San Diego – all designed to get people talking, texting, posting and “checking in,” as they check out what Newcastle has to offer. The curtain lifts on the first project “Trapped in a Schooner” at the historic Del Mar Racetrack in time for opening day, July 20th.

“Trapped in a Schooner” will entertain race fans through an optical illusion.  One person stands in a special location, while another climbs inside a larger than life replica of Newcastle’s traditional glass, the Geordie Schooner. The effect: it looks like they are trapped in a giant pint of Newcastle Brown Ale (what a pity).

“Shadow Art” will debut August 1, amazing pub crawlers San Diego’s night life hub, the Gas Lamp district. Using only a single light source and dozens of real-life Newcastle Brown Ale bottle caps, two well-known New York shadow artists have partnered with Newcastle to bring to life a 256 square foot shadow sculpture reaching for a pint of Newcastle.

“Human Installations” will make customers look twice at some of San Diego’s top on-premise locations. No, it’s not a beer robbery in progress. It’s a series of ingeniously installed human forms apparently trying to steal a keg of the “Lighter Side of Dark,” on display between July and September.

“Newcastle Brown Ale is all about breaking conventions. It’s a dark beer that’s surprisingly easy to drink. And this campaign is all about doing something that goes way beyond conventional advertising,” says Charles Van Es, Director for Newcastle Brown Ale. “Our drinkers won’t settle for an ordinary ale, and we wanted to give them something extraordinary this summer, with these engaging, one of a kind projects.”

From the race track to the pubs, Newcastle Brown Ale will be encouraging fans and friends to post pictures of the Summer Spectaculars to their personal social media networks. Foursquare check-ins at the Schooner installation will also be rewarded with special Newcastle Brown Ale merchandise, furthering the buzz and word of mouth value of these projects.

“We think the guys who drink Newcastle, are a bit different. As a discovery brand, the consumers who order a Newcastle make a conscious choice to stand apart from the perceptions that most domestic beers thrive upon, so it was important for our out-of-home to reflect the sense surprise people have when they try our ale…in other words “it’s not what you might have first thought”, adds John Vitro, Executive Creative Director. “By getting people to engage and participate in the marketing we have the chance to express the wit, intelligence and wry smile that could only come from a British import like Newcastle.”

To see Newcastle’s Summer Spectaculars for yourself, visit our Facebook Page:

Or YouTube channel

For media inquiries, including interview scheduling, please contact John Hickman at VITRO: 619-234-0408


Executive Creative Director: John Vitro

Creative Director: KT Thayer

Copywriters: Schuyler Vanden Bergh, Amanda Abrams, Pam Frasier

Art Directors: Paul Lambert, Kevin Lukens, John Leon

Agency Producer: Mickey Strider

Account Director: Ben Feeney

Account Supervisor: Whitney Milne

About Newcastle Brown Ale

In 1927, in the Northeast of England, Colonel Jim Porter created uniquely crafted ale with its own distinct golden brown color, lightly hopped taste and character that quickly became a local favorite. Best served cool, Newcastle Brown Ale has since become a world favorite as a dark beer that’s easy to drink. Newcastle Brown Ale is imported by the nation’s premier beer importer, Heineken USA, headquartered in White Plains, New York. For more information, please visit

About Heineken USA

Heineken USA Inc., the nation’s premier beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV, which is the world’s most international brewer. Brands imported into the U.S. include: Heineken Lager, the world’s most international beer brand; Heineken Light; Amstel Light, a leading imported light beer brand; Newcastle Brown Ale, the leading imported ale in the United States; and Buckler non-alcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive USA importer for the Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from FEMSA Cerveza of Mexico. For a safe ride home, download the Heineken USA-sponsored Taxi MagicTM application from your smartphone. Please visit

 About VITRO

VITRO is a full service creative agency located in San Diego, CA, known for stealing share through great work for our clients around the world including: ASICS, Newcastle Brown Ale, Bollé sunglasses, and PF Chang’s among others.


About vitropress

Communications Director, VITRO
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