DM can take BrewDog to next stage

The most creative minds in marketing could not have developed activity so potentially effective as that feisty independent drink maker BrewDog was presented with last week.

Russell Parsons

To recap the almost too perfect David v Goliath story, Diageo was accused by the upstart of “dirty tricks” in insisting that the award which was said to quite literally have BrewDog’s name written on it went to someone else. Cue Twitter storm with the majority in uproar over the big bad brewer, vowing never to down a pint of Guinness or enjoy a tipple of Smirnoff again. A humble apology for the “serious misjudgement by Diageo staff” followed.

Although far from a good week for Diageo, such social media storms are unlikely to cause any long-term damage to the distiller’s brands. Do not expect sales of Gordon’s and Johnnie Walker to be in freefall anytime soon. The company’s marcomms muscle, not to mention business priorities in emerging markets less attuned to what is causing the ire of the chattering digital classes, are enough to counter any blows that awards, err, gate lands.

So, there is no long-term loser but there is very definitely a winner. BrewDog very cannily exploited a hard luck story to generate the level of publicity that some brands spend millions trying to achieve. It is one thing, however, for people to know that you exist. Another to prompt people to visit your bars and drink your colourfully named beers.

It would be fair to say that the independent is not swimming in marketing cash. Do not expect a television campaign pushing BrewDog “the people who battled and beat Diageo” anytime soon

Cost efficient direct marketing reinforcing its quirky image and products should come, and come soon. Email, loyalty schemes, social media all present BrewDog with an opportunity to tell the tale of who it is and not just who it was wronged by.

A marketing opportunity has been presented, DM offers the firm an opportunity to exploit.


Branwell Johnson

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