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British pubs may be in decline as people drink less and the government is set to increase alcohol tax. But Britain’s Beer Alliance is trying to counter this by depicting the ‘local’ as a cultural institution, one at the heart of community life and woven into the fabric of Britain’s cultural history. We explore the insights behind the ad and understand why going to the pub means more than just grabbing a pint.

The spot titled ‘Long Live the Local’ was created by Havas Worldwide London for Britain’s Beer Alliance (BBA), and features a series of short vignettes celebrating the role of the pub in British life. The advert is centred around the notion of community, highlighting how pubs are there for people through high and low, from weddings to wakes. Narrated by actor Stephen Graham the spot finishes on a sobering thought, “three pubs a day close their doors for good,” across the UK. Viewers are then directed sign a petition to reject the Government’s plan to increase beer duty. “With pub closures comes the loss of the heart of a community, comes the loss of a springboard of culture,” says Ben Mooge, the executive creative director at Havas Worldwide London. The ad "celebrate[s] the life and vitality and the role in British culture and society that the British pub has.”

For Britons, the local pub is more than a place to grab a pint
Havas London | YouTube (2018) ©

As the advert states, three pubs close down everyday in the UK. With people drinking at home more often – 54% of Britons say they most often drink alcohol at home, compared with 30% in bars and pubs and 17% in restaurants – rising business rates, and plans to increase beer duty, the rapid decline of UK pubs has gathered momentum in the past decade. In attempts to tackle this, Plunkett foundation is creating a community pub network funded by Power to Change, which is offering support to community pubs to help them run sustainably. “Pubs are wonderful spaces for people to gather but it doesn’t have to be around a pint,” says Jenny Sansom, programme manager of the More than a Pub programme at Power to Change. “Community pubs are running vital services local people need including post offices, prescription collection services, training schemes, IT clubs, childcare,” and more.

The BBA’s spot taps into people’s nostalgia for community life centred around the ‘local’ to drive political change (by signing a petition) and to get Britons drinking in pubs again by playing on sentiment and sense of place. People’s nostalgia seems to be deeply rooted, with 71% of people saying their communities have been eroded over the course of their lifetimes. As people drink less at the pub, British venues could benefit from expanding their offerings beyond beer, with many pubs now combining drinking with activities like bingo or even VR.

Tad Buxton is an intern at Canvas8 which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. He studies English Literature and History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. When he’s not studying, he enjoys surfing, reading sci-fi novels, and dreaming up new business ideas.


30 Jul 18
3 min read

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