Friday, May 16, 2008

Brew Dog vs the Nanny State

According to this article in todays Scotsman, Brew Dog Craft Brewery faces a threat of a boycott action by advertising watchdog the Portman group. I'm not going to re-write the article here, you can read the article yourself as its not very long. I just have three points I want to make about this issue:

1. I think that some people live in fear that other people will make bad decisions. Its a control issue for them. Its a beer label. Certainly, no label on any product should boast something that isn't true (eg, if you buy our beer women will want have sex with you). The debate gets into implied product effects in marketing, though. Luckily the nanny state is there to protect the most weak-minded of us, who would be convinced by aggressive marketing tactics. Personally, I find it an insult to my intelligence that the Portman group thinks Brew Dog's marketing slogans are too aggressive for my obviously weak mind.

2. Brew Dog makes some DAMN good beers... I'm a professional in the industry, and I've tasted a hell of a lot of 'average' beers. These guys aren't selling beer because of their marketing, they're selling it because they have an artistic talent that makes their beer far better than most beers. Big breweries rely heavily on their marketing, as associating their brand with different footy clubs seems to be the only way to tell the difference between the brands in the 'uninteresting yellow fizz' market.

3. That being said, the big guys and the little guys still ought to play by the same rules for marketing. Of course, the Portman group has only suggested that Brew Dogs marketing might violate their rules. And all they can do is initiate a boycott, apparently. But I think people would still buy the beer.

I say Brew Dog keeps marketing the same way they've always done, keep doing a damn fine job making their beers, and I'll keep drinking them (when I can find them, that is). If they get more pressure from this Portman group, thats some pretty good publicity and scores high with the 'stickin it to the man' type people.

Anyway, you ought to read Brew Dog's response on their website, its pretty funny and unprofessional. Its a nice change from the PR crap we're used to. These guys know how to sell beer to me... I'll seek out a pint tomorrow.


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