Not least of these is the fact a lager drinking friend of mine has taken his first tentative steps into the ways of righteousness. At the suggestion of the lovely Lisa he started on a Fuller's Discovery, a golden ale designed with winning over lager drinkers in mind. This could be called the stealth approach - making ales that look like lagers. Exmoor Gold was the first of the modern golden ales to do this. I can remember being shocked when I first saw something that yellow coming out of a handpump. It's a fine tasting beer though, but does the taste really appeal to lager drinkers? Golden ales have certainly proved very popular but most are quite bitter, which residents of Jever aside, probably doesn't appeal to lager drinkers. I'm sure that most golden are drunk by people who normally drink ales anyway. Discovery probably worked because Fuller's went a stage further with it by making it blond and bland. It didn't appeal to me but my lager drinking friend liked it.
Wychwood have used what might be called the mocking approach, promoting their dark beer with "What's the matter lager boy, afraid you might taste something" adverts. Certainly they've had good sales growth but has it been from lager drinkers shamed into drinking ale by a goblin taking the piss out of them? I suspect the adverts, like the beer, mostly appeal to people already drinking real ale.
I'm not convinced that either approach has much effect. My feeling is that most people who took the wrong steps early in life start turning to real ale once they reach a certain age or beard length and the effects of specially designed beers or advertising campaigns are pretty marginal. Though if anyone does have any tales of how lager drinkers have been converted I'm all ears.