Pilsner Urquell owner South African Breweries yesterday unveiled the first international advertising campaign for the Czech beer. To be rolled out across markets in Europe and North America it will cost US$10m and is aimed at propelling the brand into one of the world's top ten brews.

SAB said it was looking to continue the current brand growth of 30%, which was achieved in both of the last two years. Phil Plowman, marketing director at Pilsner Urquell International, aims to raise beer volumes to over 5m hectolitres from the current 1.1m hectolitres in the next eight years.

The advertising will initially commence in Poland this month and will be followed with TV and cinema in other key markets, including Germany, Russia and the US. A print campaign will also commence in the UK, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Canada from summer this year.

The advertising plays on the fact that Pilsner Urquell was the first Pilsner beer, using hyperbole to claim that numerous inventions since 1842, the year Pilsner was discovered, were solely created to better appreciate and enjoy the beer brand.  The inventions include the burglar alarm, the refrigerator and the telephone.

Plowman said: "We believe the advertising will powerfully convey these motivating values and attract a new generation of consumers in many markets around the world."

Pilsner Urquell is exported to over 50 countries and was acquired by SAB in October 1999 from Nomura for US$629m. Pilsner Urquell International was subsequently formed by SAB to come up with an international strategy for the brand to complement SAB's other major product Castle Lager.

The new campaign is part of a wider marketing drive for the brand, which will differ across the markets because of the different levels of development of the brand in the countries where it is available. Other activities include point-of-sale material and city focused marketing in Stockholm and Helsinki, with in-outlet activity and street events. This programme will be rolled out into other major European cities.