Castlemaine XXXX – Your Beer or Your Wife?
Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for anything else.
The line is now to be found in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
It was created by copywriter James Lowther of Saatchi and Saatchi, an Old Etonian and Oxford graduate who subsequently worked on a sheep station in Australia before entering advertising.
Castlemaine was launched in the UK in 1984 – brewed here under licence, of course – and the ad dates to 1985, with the line used in print and TV campaigns.
In truth it’s a fairly simple concept – very similar to that behind the Stella Artois ads of a decade later – that the beer is so good that you’d be willing to give up something else that’s precious to you.
With the Castlemaine ad this concept takes a distinctly Australian flavour – or an English perception of the typical Aussie male, more dedicated to saving his beer than his wife.
And just to show there’s nothing new under the advertising sun, have a look at this later Foster’s ad about a chap who asks his kidnapped wife where his golf clubs are rather than helping to save her…
He who thinks Australian, drinks Australian. Or so they say.
Thanks to the ads Castlemaine rivalled their fellow Australian brand Foster’s in the 80s.
Fast forward to today and their fortunes have diverged massively.
Castlemaine was withdrawn from the UK market in 2013.
Should’ve kept up with the advertising.