'We had a lot of moving parts' - Behind the Campaign, Beavertown 'Open Up'

PR Week

May 28, 2024

April Hogan, director at Here Be Dragons, discusses the agency’s recent mental health campaign for beer brand Beavertown.

What was the campaign, in a nutshell?

Here Be Dragons launched Beavertown’s partnership with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), with ‘Open Up’ – a range of crisps containing conversation-starters designed to encourage friends to open up and have more meaningful conversations with one another. The crisps were available in over 300 pubs across the UK (Mondays to Wednesdays).

How did the idea come into being?

Beavertown challenged Here Be Dragons to launch the partnership in a way that would target a hard-to-reach male audience and foster feelings of belonging.

We looked at British pub behaviours and found an American on TikTok talking about how Brits in pubs tearing open a packet of crisps to share was one of the “cutest things” he had ever seen. We decided to take that behaviour and turn it into a vehicle that would encourage our audience to open up to their mates. From there, ‘Open Up’ was born.

What ideas were rejected?


Briefly describe the campaign planning and process.

We had a lot of moving parts, the first being our crisps. A brainstorm in the park led us to SMUG, which helped us to create the most delicious Cheddar & Jalapeno crisps, and tackle the tricky task of a crisp packet that needed to be printed on the inside.

There was no campaign if we couldn’t get into pubs and we worked with Beavertown’s Trade Marketing team, who placed the crisps in 200 Young’s Pubs in London, and 150 independent pubs across the UK. Alongside the internal team we managed creating assets for the pubs to be shared on social media and briefing packs for all their staff.

We enlisted UK comedian Tom Davis to be the face of the campaign. Tom indexed highly with the target audience and is extremely open about his own struggles with mental health. Alongside Tom, we worked with two creators – Beachbuminasuit and Hugo Chegwin – to create content on the campaign.

We launched the story with research that showed Brits avoid talking about their mental health, and the stigmas that are still attached to being open about it. We targeted the nationals first before moving to regional press, and underpinned everything by gifting the product to Beavertown fans, media and influencers that resonated with that audience.
The campaign was also amplified by Beavertown across social media, CRM and a LADbible partnership.

What were the biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?

Beavertown is a beer brand, so there were nuances we had to be aware of when it came to creating a campaign about mental health. We tackled it by allowing the crisps to be given away with any drink, rather than tying it to a Beavertown purchase, and worked closely with the team at CALM to make sure our messaging was sensitive and on point.

By the same logic, the campaign needed to stay light while still driving home a serious message. To do that, guided by CALM, we focused on meaningful conversations and the benefits of checking in with your friends, which is the right place for Beavertown to play a part in.

How did you measure the results, and what were they?

The campaign received over 245 pieces of media coverage with a total reach of 573 million, and landed coverage in titles including PA, The Sun, Metro, Manchester Evening News, TalkTV and a shoutout by Chris Moyles on Radio X.

The campaign had overwhelmingly positive sentiment across all channels, with some pubs requesting that the crisps become a permanent fixture.

What’s the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

There are huge amounts of existing human behaviour (eg tearing open a packet of crisps to share) that can lead to the creation of new ideas and media spaces. Find the right one for your campaign.