'We had to keep it light' - Behind the Campaign, 'Oil Your Neck' for Beavertown

April Hogan via PRWeek

September 8, 2023

What was the campaign in a nutshell?

This summer Here Be Dragons launched Oil Your Neck for Beavertown: a sunscreen created to specifically target beer drinkers and encourage them to take more care in the sun. Launched in beer gardens, pubs and festivals across the UK, Oil Your Neck was given away free to anyone who ordered a pint of Beavertown’s Neck Oil IPA.

How did the idea come into being?

Beavertown wanted to drive talkability for its iconic IPA Neck Oil, and the campaign had to target predominantly male consumers aged 25-34.

We looked into how Neck Oil was created and found that the name’s origin story was that Beavertown’s founder's grandfather used to disappear to the pub to ‘oil his neck’ (hence, Neck Oil). We loved this story but needed to figure out how it could be used to solve a problem for the target audience.

At the same time, the media was predicting that 2023 was going to be the hottest summer yet, and we found scientific articles that showed that after drinking alcohol our skin could be more sensitive to UV rays. Research also showed that Beavertown’s target audience was particularly bad at wearing sunscreen.

From there, ‘Oil Your Neck’ was born - the first sun cream from a beer brand to help protect the outside of men’s necks, while the complimentary ‘Neck Oil’ beer lubricated the inside of their necks.

What ideas were rejected?


Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

There were a number of moving parts that had to be locked down once the idea was signed off, the first being a sunscreen manufacturer. To do this we worked with LifeJacket SkinProtection to produce Oil Your Neck for us in Beavertown branding.

With a sunscreen manufacturer secured, we spoke to UK charity Melanoma UK, which ratified that British men have a real problem applying suncream because they think it is not manly enough. They needed to target this hard-to-reach segment of men who aren't listening to skin-charity communications but did pay attention to Beavertown, and for that reason rubber stamped our campaign.

We also worked extremely closely with Beavertown’s trade marketing team, who through their relationships with pubs placed 10,000 Oil Your Neck Sachets and specially designed dispensers in beer gardens across 20 of the UK’s biggest cities.

We launched the story with research that looked into the behaviours of UK men and women when applying sunscreen and supported it with a suite of picture assets of Oil Your Neck. We targeted the nationals first before moving to regional press and underpinned everything by gifting the product to Beavertown fans and influencers that resonated with that audience.

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

July 2023 ended up being a washout, which was just when our campaign launched and we did get pushback from some media that they couldn’t cover it because of the weather. But we held our nerve, got journalists to keep the story for when the hot days did appear, and pushed for coverage when they did.

Similarly, we had to keep it light. Beavertown is a ‘good times’ brand and our campaign had to be ‘soft purpose’ that felt natural for a beer brand, rather than going down a ‘serious health risk’ route.

How did you measure the results and what were they?

The campaign picked up over 70 pieces of coverage in titles including The Daily Express (three times), The Sun, The Daily Mirror (twice), The Evening Standard, LADBible, Metro,, The Daily Star, Yahoo News, BBC Radio Nottingham, Radio X, Virgin Radio.

A real highlight was Chris Evans on his Virgin Radio breakfast show saying: “Well done Beavertown, you have done a good job of getting this past the editors."

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

You can’t predict the British weather, so bulletproof the campaign to give it seasonality, rather than relying on one launch moment.