100 WORDS: Feeding the Beast

A brewery does something annoying or offensive — what do you do?

If you don’t challenge, you’re letting them off the hook.

But if you write or Tweet about it, you shine a light on their stunt — just what they want — and your reaction, however negative, ends up being counted as an ‘engagement’ in a marketing executive’s ‘return on investment’ report.

It will probably also gain them even more attention when it’s reported as ‘BEER GEEKS OUTRAGED’ in the trade press two days later.

We tend to ignore, because, frankly, stunts are boring, and ignoring is easier… but should we?

13 replies on “100 WORDS: Feeding the Beast”

Call ’em out, I say. There *is* such a thing as bad publicity. And since we all operate in an echoey little bubble, the traction they generate from the outrage isn’t going to get them anywhere.

“BEER GEEKS OUTRAGED”? That sort of headline doesn’t actually happen, outside the Bulletin of Nobody Gives A Fuck, does it?

I doubt the PMA would have covered that if one of their own columnists hadn’t jumped in, and isn’t the PMA inside our daft little bubble anyway? The Bud stuff is different: an expression of a forthright opinion rather than something actually offensive.

There’s no downside to ignoring the Bud one; there is to ignoring the JW Lees one.

Call them out. The good thing about not having a real financial stake in the discourse like a full time writer is that there is no downside to pointing out bad behavior. As must beer writing is dependent on being pals with the actors, the amateur at liberty has a much more important role.

Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but always certain. Opinion away, it’s what the internet is for, right?

I can’t tell you what to do. It’s your life to do as you will. I can tell you what I do in those circumstances. I shrug my shoulders, mutter “whatever” and get on with my regular pointless existence.

Well, I find it interesting just from the point of view of observing the industry, not necessarily from the standpoint of being a “craft” drinker or “Bud” man: it has an inherent interest as a business story in other words.

My own view is, quite possibly the left hand and right hand were not in synch here. A-B InBev is such a big organization now that the ad approval process may not factor always things like the Elysian buy or understand the implications of the earlier craft buy-outs. If, on the other hand, these were factored, I can only conclude it’s an exercise in ironic advertising, the idea to make fun of the product not to hurt it of course but so as to draw attention. Certainly it did get partisans of craft beer talking, however sometimes things can backfire with this approach.

Personally I think it was the wrong approach in that all beer deserves respect no matter which market it serves, is an honorable product and needs boosting, not the two cheers Bud got here.

Interesting Rorschach quality to this post – I immediately thought of a PR I got today from a certain Scottish brewery (not that one!), which richly deserves being totally ignored. But you probably weren’t thinking of that either!

Rorschach’s a good way of expressing it. The I&G press release was the *immediate* trigger, though certainly not the only one we had in mind.

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