Lager lout campaign passes sell-by date 'sell-by' date

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After 12 years, it appears the British lager-buying public no longer gives a XXXX for the beer-swilling, cork-hatted Australian male.

In British television's most expensive television advertising blitz, the familiar Castlemaine XXXX bushman, who would rather lose his Sheila than his lager, is being replaced by a clean-shaven smoothie who lives in the suburbs, sees his girlfriend after work and, strewth, drinks his beer from a glass.

Research by Carlsberg-Tetley and Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising showed that in 1984, when the lager was launched in the UK, Australia had seemed "remote and exotic". But due to the proliferation of Australian soaps and increased opportunities for travel, the country had become more familiar and the appeal of Crocodile Dundee-type characters had worn off.

The results concluded: "The XXXX personalities and values associated with outback life and extreme macho attitudes have become tired. People will view them as unsociable and unsuccessful and not as heroes ... The advertising and its imagery increasingly sit uncomfortably with current attitudes."

Dr David Lewis, a psychologist consulted by the companies as part of the research, said: "Young people will no longer accept stereotypical images of Australians as being hard and rugged outback types. Aussie soaps play a big part in shaping our view of the country and we see more macho behaviour in Coronation Street than Neighbours or Home and Away."

The campaign opens on 17 August on ITV, during the screening of the movie Demolition Man. Nine different versions of the advertisement will be shown during the commercial breaks at a cost of pounds 1m - the most money spent by one advertiser in one evening on British television and the most commercials for one product shown during a single programme. Eight different versions will be shown at later dates.