The Wrestler star and alcohol-free beer may not be an obvious match, but a new campaign breaking in August links the two in a humorous way that Bavaria hopes will make it market leader over the next 12 months.
Bavaria's alcohol-free lines have grown 57% to £2.8m in the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 12 June] in an off-trade non-alcoholic beer market worth £15.2m.
The brand hopes to overtake ABInBev's non-alcoholic Beck's Blue, which has grown 19% to £6.9m.
A combination of the new campaign, growing interest in the category and Wit, Bavaria's newest 0.0% abv wheat beer, which was launched last month, would enable the brand to hit its target, said managing director Mike Teague.
In the adverts, which run on Central and London TV networks through August, a grouchy Rourke unknowingly drinks a Bavaria Alcohol Free beer, served by a hotel bartender who is aware of his hard-drinking past. The scene switches to Rourke storming through the hotel lobby in a rage because he can only find alcohol-free beer in his room's mini-bar and asking the bartender for another beer unaware that he was originally served an alcohol-free beer.
In the second ad Rourke sits with his pet chihuahua and his girlfriend drinking Wit, which leaves him with a white moustache. He then demands of a staring man: "Are you looking at my girl?"
The campaign would combat one of the biggest barriers to people consuming non-alcoholic beers the fact it has been seen as "uncool" said UK marketing manager Sean Durkan. "We want to grow the category. It's growing anyway as more people are being sensible about their drinking choices."
The alcohol-free category was a "small but very profitable market", added Teague. "There are lots of issues it taps into. There's also a new wave of young people who are very image-conscious with men going to the gym. It's very low calorie," he said.