Just grin and bare it

05 October, 2007

Your promotional genius, that is. You don't have to rely on brewers for ideas

Promotion is the key. No, not escalating your career path and earning ever-increasing amounts of cash (heaven forbid), but drawing attention to your business, or particular products therein. This week I received two

promotional packs, one deceptively simple and direct, the other slightly more slick

and perhaps a little more confused.

The first was a pack from the Wychwood Brewery, flagging up

its new Pumpking Ale

and cheekily placing

its best-selling Hobgoblin Ale as "the unofficial beer of Halloween". Included was a roll of stickers, some toffees in a little hessian bag, a T-shirt, a couple of beers, and a storyboard about pumpkin carving (power tools optional). The pack itself was nicely done

- it was witty and slightly tongue-in-cheek, but free from dogma,

so it left a little to the imagination. It planted the seed of an idea, but left enough scope for you to customise it to your own ends.

Hijacking a seasonal festival and making your beer its unofficial mascot is a great idea; making it official with stickers and a T-shirt is the icing on the cake. Sadly, Pumpking Ale is a Sainsbury's exclusive, so Hobgoblin for Halloween it is.

The second bit of promotional material was from Coors,

which is launching Coors Light this month. There's undoubtedly a lot of investment

in the beer and the campaign

- the mailout was a cute cardboard replica of a can

with a three-piece foldout flyer of a Coors Light bottle inside. I'm sure you've seen it by now, and probably had a call from the

very thorough sales team.

For me, the message is a bit mixed

- on one hand

it's a light beer, on the other

it's a more drinkable premium lager.

The claim in the flyer that "75 per cent of lager drinkers want a range of lighter and stronger tasting products when buying premium strength lager" is a sentence that gets more confusing the longer I look at it.

It's great that

Coors is targeting the independent sector with a special glassware offer as this is the sort of thing

the small operator can use to everyone's advantage. But I find

its sign-off on the flyer - "Your customers will want Coors Light. Make sure you have some in stock - we'll be in touch soon" - quite menacing, especially if said in an East End gangster style and embellished with "you slaaag" .

But you don't need to wait for someone to get in touch to do a bit of in-store promotion. Our current rotating promotion has taken the novel approach of promoting beer that we like. Imagine that

- no other criteria than enthusiasm.

For a while, it was a British, Belgian and International Beer of the Week, which actually always gets dragged out over

10 days. I think Dan and Will B came up with this - it's wonderful to see how I've inspired such enthusiasm in them (haha!). This week, Mr B has taken the promotion in a new direction: County of the Week - Cornwall. Splendid bit of innovation there, although use of the Cornish language might have garnered a bit more interest. "Korev a-an Seythun" is "beer of the week" in Cornish, should anyone feel like following suit. But why stop there? How about a Beer Style of the Week

or, given the turn in the weather, Strong, Dark Beers? You don't need a brewery to do the work for you - you just need a pen, some paper, and a bit of imagination. Jump to it.




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