25 Jan 2012

A bit of marketing

Marketing is something that I find incredibly interesting. It's a lot more democratic than most seem to think. There are extremely well funded and deeply researched campaigns that still manage to result in massive flops and others that turn out to be an enormous success despite of the opposite. As in everything, luck can play a role, but the key to success is in how well companies manage to understand the target consumer and the market in general.

Large companies need specialized consultants and/or departments to carry out market surveys and plan campaigns because their very size has detached them from the common people and also because they are forced to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Small companies, in principle, have the advantage of having a more direct contact with the consumer, which allows them to have a better picture of them. However, at the end of the day, it will all depend on how well both large and small are able to interpret and use the information they get from whatever channel.

Another reason why I like paying attention to marketing (everything a company does to sell their product/brand is marketing) is because it can offer you a good picture of what's going through the mind of a company and how they see their consumers.

For example, Plzeňský Pradroj seems to see twentysomethings as a bunch of superficial idiots and that's why they offered them XCLNT, an idiotic and superficial product (I wonder what happened to it).

To certain extent, 24K Gold Faust is very similar to XCLNT, superficial, presented as something new and innovative and with little respect for the consumer.

It's a beer with gold (which isn't anything new under the sun, by the way) in a limited edition of 60 0.7l bottles (with a very ugly label). There's nothing special about the beer itself, either, it's a světlý ležák, period. The only thing that sets it apart from other beers in its category is that there are gold flakes floating in it. Cool, init?

Getting the attention of the mainstream media is a very effective marketing tool. If that was the intention of the people behind Faust Gold (and I really don't know, but that's the impression I get from all this), then, at first sight, the beer served its purpose, I've seen the news reproduced in the Latin American media. However, if you pay a bit of attention (and provided such has been the intention) you'll see that the success is not such, I haven't seen any mention about where this beer was brewed (other than Ostrava).

Pivovar Vyškov is the complete opposite of these two. At the end of last year they put out Jubiler IPA, which not only was excellent, but also very successful, the (half) batch sold out in just a few days and they've recently announced a new version in a full batch. But that's not the only thing that proves this company does pay attention to the conversation and know very well whom they are talking with.

A few years ago the topic was unpasteurised beers. "Nepasterované" became an almost totemic word in the Czech beer world. It was followed by "Nefiltrované", which would carry the same power. Later on, the conversation shifted towards the balling graduations, which actually is the most visible face of something that is very much discussed in the local beer community, High Gravity Brewing.

Vyškov responded to this in a very simple way, adding the phrase "NEŘEDĚNO VODOU" to their labels. They aren't the only ones who do this one way or another, but they are only ones who seem to have caught the attention of the mainstream media with this discourse.

Marketing is truly fascinating, both when it's used cleverly and when it's used foolishly.

Na Zdraví!

Choose a Hotel in Prague in the city centre.

7 comments:

  1. Comparing XCLNT to Faust seem unfair to me. XCLNT is regular, mass-produced beer, whilst Faust production is extremely limited - there will be no more than around 200 bottles. It is meant to be something special, it is suitable as a gift. Is it a publicity stunt? Sure. But I believe it could also help changing the way most Czechs see beer: as a cheap drink, which is to be consumed in large amounts.

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    1. In essence, they are both gimmicks. I would have thought differently about Faust it if had been a purposely brewed beer, something with a bit of a concept behind. Faust doesn't give me that impression. It's more like as if someone said "You know what'd be cool? Putting gold in beer!" "Yeah! Let's do it!". And the result is something that doesn't bring anything new and hardly any added value to the drinking experience, just like XCLNT.

      Besides, I believe there are better and more efficient ways to prove Czechs that beer isn't only something cheap to be drunk in large ammounts. The success of Jubiler IPA, Matuška, Kocour, etc. are proof of that.

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  2. Know Where you are Coming From. From Personal Experience. Big Company,s, Main Problem ?, Communication !.

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  3. Max, faust is a winner.
    For little money lot's publicity. And that what's marketing about...

    Honza, CzBeer.cz

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    1. I'm not actually talking about how successful or not a marketing gimmick has been. This one indeed got a lot of attention, but where was it brewed? (I've heard that in Avar Hlučin).

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    2. The guy behind Faust brews his beers at Avar in Hlucin. so probably this golden one was done there too

      Honza, CzBeer.cz

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    3. That's what someone commented on my FB page, but it doesn't appear in any of the articles I've seen about the beer.

      Anyway, whatever its success might have been, it was sure a gimmick, and a pretty lame one at that, IMO. (Oh, yeah, and they could have hired a better designer for the label.hehe)

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