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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Butcombe's Tall Tales send its Pale Ale up the sales charts

The Business Magazine article image for: Butcombe's Tall Tales send its Pale Ale up the sales charts
14 June 2024

A plank of wood, a length of rope, a seven foot crocodile and April Fool’s Day all played a part in Butcombe Brewing Co’s recent marketing campaign promoting Tall Tales Pale Ale, propelling the beer up the rankings to become the fastest growing keg ale in the South West.

Butcombe Brewing Co teamed up with creative agency The Black Arts Co to create a campaign focused on stunts and fun, resurrecting the legend of the Bristol Crocodile. 

The brewer and pub operator launched Tall Tales Pale Ale last year, with branding depicting the mythical crocodile that was once supposedly spotted in the River Avon in the 80s. 

‘Caution, sighting of Bristol crocodile in this area’ warning signs placed around Bristol got locals and visitors and the national press talking while hoax ‘have you seen the croc?’ interviews were seeded online, backed up with Tall Tales digital OOH and online adverts – which were cleverly altered on 1st April to reveal the fact that Butcombe Brewing Co was behind the stunt all along.

Simon Dehany, Butcombe Brewing Co says: “We wanted to really have fun with this marketing campaign and go back to basics with a more traditional stunt-based approach, that resonated in reality, as well as digitally.  Lots of work went into creating the signage, convincing videos and interviews, as well as our giant croc that helped us with our post reveal sampling activation in Bristol.  Dragging planks of wood through Bristol’s Harbour to create a ripple effect which The Black Arts Co used in the ‘swimming croc’ CGI video was also a lo-fi highlight!”

Following the month-long campaign, sales of Tall Tales grew across all channels by 93.9% or 58,176 pints compared to the same period last year, free trade listings increased and sales across Butcombe Pubs & Inns’ managed estate rose by more than 126 per cent. 

Ian Cassie, The Black Arts Co says: “The staggering number of social media posts from products and brands across the globe has created blizzard conditions, where it has become virtually impossible to see anything at all.  But, combine them with social and conventional media and a good old fashioned ‘activation’ and somehow things seem to resonate a little better.

“A few ‘official’ Bristol Crocodile warning signs started things off but the story was soon picked up by national media including Mail Online and the Daily Mirror and TikTok managed to collect over 2M views…a crocodile in a snowstorm if ever there was.”


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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