Saturday, October 23, 2010

Too long for a comment

Mr Lager suggests (on the Hardknott blog) that the point of the branding effort (he chooses Becks Vier for his example) is "Letting punters know what’s in it and ensuring the grog tastes okay" .

Well, no. Becks can (of course) knock out a largely inoffensive beer in pretty much whatever colour, strength and quantity their owners want them to. And of course they'll do that day after day.

The Bosses then spend piles of money telling us that it's "Different By Choice" - the product is presented as a Mainstream Alternative. Add some human beatbox stuff (remember when that was edgey?) and some special glasses (German technology) And what you've got is a marketing effort that says nothing about the beer except that it's made in Germany (= pure = good) and it's a bit weak (= not wifebeater).

What it does say is that it's "difference" and "choice" packaged up for men who aspire to drive a f*cking Audi and don't want to be thought of as the lout-ish type, they're way more hip than that. Look! I've made a "choice"! I have a nice shirt and pants, also some hip-hop. (Yep, and I know about Motorhead, but I'm quite mature now.)

Now that we've established the product's position, which we hope will appeal to our target demographic, we'll be needing some visible reminders of our expensive adverts. The drinker is paying a bit more to demonstrate his alignment with the product ethos, so we need to afford him a display opportunity. Hence branded glassware, POS, etc. That's branding.

I'm not sure why smaller brewers would bother putting their name on a glass. They haven't spent the money to make it worthwhile. Nobody cares. That's why a lot of people in Dave's survey aren't really bothered. RA drinkers are making all the statement they need by being seen to drink the stuff at all. A plain glass will do nicely.
i.e. I'm pretty much agreeing with Mr. Lager, in the end. In that most "Real Ale" products (particularly micro-brews) aren't strong brands. But that's not because they're weak products, but rather that the marketing effort is weak, or missing. Of course.
If consistency is perceived to be a issue in the market, then perhaps it should be addressed. Let's talk about "craft" products. Where simple consistency isn't a selling point.


Fishter said...

I voted in Dave's poll, and chose the branded glass option. Then I read your post and thought, of course, the micro-brewery doesn't want to spend loads of money on branded glassware, but they shouldn't expect their beer to be served in somone elses brand. Of course a plain glass is always the best option when there isn't a correctly branded alternative.

StringersBeer said...

Quite right.

By the way, the earlier ad, "4 steps" which does refer to the 4 ingredients, can be seen here. It's for the regular Becks, Of course. I wonder if that's what Cookie was thinking of?

You'll see a man in a nice suit doing a sort of same but different dance with some animated characters.

Oh, "same but different", "nice suit", golly - it's a subtle message isn't it?

Cooking Lager said...

Heh, call me cookie, no need for Mr Lager.