It’s the most refreshing time for a beer

Ronan Keating gets roasted in a new campaign for Diageo-owned lager and cider brand Rockshore from M&C Saatchi London.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


If you thought you had reached your fill of festive anthems, think again.

Diageo-owned lager and cider brand Rockshore has turned to the dulcet tones of former Boyzone member Ronan Keating, to celebrate the joy of Boxing Day. 

The multichannel push, which stars Ronan Keating, was developed in partnership with M&C Saatchi London.

To build on the brand's summer brand campaign launch, Rockshore briefed M&C Saatchi London to create a fame-driving piece of work with a ‘Refreshingly Irish’ take on the festive season. The campaign is aimed squarely at the brand’s target audience of larger drinkers aged 25 to 40.

Yet rather than following the well-worn festive advertising path of celebrating Christmas Day, the brand instead chose Boxing Day as the focal point of the festive celebration. M&C Saatchi London identified Boxing Day (known as St Stephen’s Day in Ireland), the day when many go to the pub with friends, as an occasion that Rockshore could own.

To build anticipation in the run-up to Boxing Day Rockshore has launched its first-ever festive anthem, performed by Boyzone star Ronan Keating.

A series of humorous films, directed by Harry Cauty at Rattling Stick, depict Keating laying down a nostalgic take on the Christmas classic ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. The producer behind the mixing desk interjects throughout, subverting the lyrics at Keating’s expense. (He even shares that his favourite boy band is in fact, Westlife) In response, Keating dishes out his own banter about the producer and Rockshore, before the two men head to the pub.

The through-the-line campaign is running across TV, video-on-demand, experiential and social channels in Ireland and the UK. Media planning and buying is by PHD. PR is handled by WH PR and campaign activation is by Verve. Talent strategy for the push came from M&C Saatchi’s talent management agency, M&C Saatchi Merlin.

During the countdown to December 26th, Rockshore will also be bringing the St. Stephen’s Day vibes to selected pubs in Ireland, where guests can expect sing-a-longs, leftover Christmas Dinner sandwiches, games and pints of Rockshore.

Linda Bradley, Head of Beer at Diageo Ireland, explained: “For most people, particularly families, Christmas day is the most important day of the festive season. However, as a brand which is all about playful banter as a sign of affection between friends, we didn’t feel we had as big a role to play on the 25th December.

She continued: “The 26th is a day for mates to head to the pub, making it the perfect territory for Rockshore to own. So to build excitement for St Stephen’s Day, we’re excited to launch our first ever festive anthem, performed by the brilliant Ronan Keating.”

Guy Bradbury, Creative Partner, M&C Saatchi London, added: “There seems to be a sentimental formula to Christmas ads at the moment, and they all blur into one. So, to make Rockshore stand out and be distinctive we tapped into culture, making an even more brutal campaign than our last one. We’re reminding people that it’s all about giving this season. Giving banter, that is."

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