2 mins to read

Southern Man axed

Speights takes trendy new direction. With VIDEO.

Victoria Young
Fri, 02 Nov 2012

After more than 12 years on New Zealand television, the Speight’s Southern Man has been axed (scroll to end of story to see Speights' new commercial).

The long-running ambassador joins the National Bank horse and ASB's Ira Goldstein in the list of killed-off ad icons. 

The Speight's icon was originally played by Frank Whitten, who also appeared in Outrageous Fortune. Mr Whitten died early last year. 

Speight's marketing manager Jonte Goldwater told NBR ONLINE that scrapping of the character had nothing to do with the loss of Mr Whitten. 

While Lion Nathan has dropped the Southern Man, his classic line “good on ya mate” lives on in new advertising.

The ad with his replacement will air on Sunday evening.

Ad insiders say while the Southern Man was popular, he wasn’t getting beer off the shelves.

The original ad, Perfect Girl, where a young Speight’s drinker discussed moving to Auckland with the Southern Man, contrasted the country life with the big city. 

Now instead of dividing the North and the South, the new ad contrasts the hustle and bustle of New York with peaceful New Zealand. The catchphrase "pride of the South" is now "knowing what matters" since 1876.

Mr Goldwater told NBR ONLINE it was a long and hard decision, but the brand needed to acknowledge change.

He says the urbanisation of New Zealand meant the relevance of the outdoor life had changed.

But the new character still stands for all the things the original did. “We don’t view it as letting the Southern Man go, we’re refocused on the heart of the brand.”

The beer company has been careful not to attach themselves to the new character just yet. 

They have produced only one TV ad, which Mr Goldwater says will allow “flexibility to evolve and change”

The ad is the work of indie agency Shine, which won the account last year.

Lion Nathan ditched Publicis Mojo, after a closed pitch, and selected DDB for Steinlager and Shine for Speights. 

View the ad below.

Victoria Young
Fri, 02 Nov 2012
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Southern Man axed