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  • Posted by: Jemima Maunder-Taylor on Tuesday, December 17 2013 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

    Cast your mind back to the Victorian era, and imagine you dwell near the Gin quarters and crowded slums. The first National Insurance Act of 1911 is yet to arrive and the cost of medical attention is high. Doctors treating low-income patients are rumoured to prescribe Guinness for a variety of afflictions, including influenza, nervous conditions and post-natal depression. Guinness was more affordable than medicines, but rarely recommended in public as a medicant.

    The Guinness team decided to investigate, so a series of pamphlets to doctor’s nationwide, advocating the beer’s benefits and asking for opinions. A huge number, including Harley Street residents, affirmed their beliefs in the nutritious and disease-busting values of the beer – only 2 percent of responses were negative. Doctors even referred to the beer as a "tonic," with "therapeutic value."

    Guinness’ boosting properties became a branding plaform for the beer until well into the 1960s, encapsulated in the famous "Guinness is Good for You" slogan in 1928. This was used for almost a decade, until 1937, when John Gilroy, creator of the beloved Guinness Toucan, advanced the positioning. Further slogans included "A Guinness A Day," "Guinness for Strength" and "My Goodness My Guinness."

    A few consequent studies have proffered medical insights into the claims, although the topic is still much debated today. Concentrations of antioxidants, such as those found in fruit and veg, inhibit harmful deposits on artery walls - other lagers don’t all have the same effects. Some have also recommended the low-calorie beer as a source of iron, hence the one-time use of Guinness post-operations, after blood donation and as a galactagogue for nursing mothers. Even today some pregnant women extol the virtues of drinking Guinness. Reports of Gwyneth Paltrow in 2006 being spotted with a Guinness outside a restaurant in New York while pregnant caused a stir, but in the last few years she's given her favorite beer credit in interviews for being one of her best beauty secrets.

    The mid-century advent of stricter advertising standards propelled the brand to look for a new resonance. Moving away from being medicine for the body, Guinness became fodder for the soul. The brand repositioned itself as the beer that benefits us, and today’s beloved Irish tipple has evolved considerably from the 1900s Victorian remedy.

    The 1998 "Surfer" ad was a definitive moment in Guinness’ good-for-you messaging. The ad compared the brand experience to the tension of surfers awaiting a wave, and the consquent cathartic exhilaration of mastering the pounding surf. Horses leapt over the breaking waves, hooves hammering the sea below. The ad won more awards than any other commercial at the time, and in 2002 was voted "Best ad of all time" in a poll from Channel 4 and The Sunday Times. It enjoyed a revival in 2013, when surf photographer Brian Bielmann shot new footage of the Tahitian waves. The message was simple: Guinness is a feel-good factor, a boon for health and wellbeing.

    The current "Made of More" campaign continues to resonate this message, with some imaginative and evocative stories. January 2013’s "Clock" ad personifies the town clock, fast-forwarding time, and turning it back again to avert disaster and prolong the townfolk’s special moments. The "Friendship" ad features a wheelchair-basketball game, ending with all but one participant standing up at the end of the game, walking off the court, and drinking a pint with their wheelchair-bound mate.

    The voiceover pronounces: "The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character." The spot was hailed as one of the most effective TV beer ads this year, beating other brands in popularity stakes, with some stats claiming it had outranked competitors by 30 percent. It accumulated more than 7.5 million views, and was praised for departing from more customary laid-back-lifestyle beer messaging.

    Guinness drew on a different interpretation of masculinity and sports – comradeship. The story again carries the feel-good momentum, communicating the message that Guinness facilitates more meaningful moments in life, and can improve how we live.

    Over the path of a century, the brand has communicated in a variety of ways, but has maintained its original resonance. From Victorian tonic to today’s pub favourite, Guinness has always been more than just beer.

    Jemima Maunder-Taylor is an Analyst, Brand Strategy at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: Nick Awbrey on Thursday, May 9 2013 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Oppikoppi Festival

    A unique challenge to music festival organisers is creating a brand the young demographic generally views as cool and exclusive. The South African music festival Oppikoppi has unveiled a concept that will not only combat inconveniently long lines, but also establish the Oppikoppi experience as enjoyable and unique.

    Oppikoppi organisers plan to allow its concert goers to order beer via their smartphones. The beer is then delivered via drones which drop the beers into the crowd of concert goers. Although currently manually controlled, the drones will eventually deliver beer based on the consumers’ GPS location.

    The video demonstrating the beer drone has generated great interest since its publication on YouTube. The Oppikoppi festival has enjoyed an increase in brand awareness internationally, with its relatively simple drone demonstration racking up over 82 000 views and numerous mentions by the international press.

    Of course, ensuring that a beer can being dropped by a drone at altitude into a large crowd accurately and safely may prove challenging. However if these challenges can be overcome, drone delivery has the potential to increase brand value by providing the associating brands in question with innovation and the ever elusive “cool factor.”

    In the end, beer drones may prove to be impractical. However Oppikoppi has already won in the brand game by captivating its audience and positioning itself as the edgy and definitive authority on cool.

    Nick Awbrey is a Consultant for InterbrandSampson.

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  • Posted by: Katie Conneally on Wednesday, December 5 2012 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
    Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12

    At Interbrand, we always hope that the names we create impact people on a personal level: changing behaviors, building loyalties or becoming a part of everyday vocabulary. This is easier said than done, and as a namer, it’s always exciting to find a name that really does change habits in an interesting way.

    Stone Brewing Company in San Diego recently released “Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA” and the name really shines. This brew is the newest in an “Enjoy By” series, prioritizing freshness and taste above wider distribution, and aiming to give consumers a really quality product.

    “Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA” says everything beer lovers need to know to fully enjoy this brew, starting with what’s most important – when best to drink it. The Stone Enjoy By website explains:

    "We've not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you're getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn't randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we've sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA."

    What’s more, by elevating a common food-packaging phrase that most of us tend to ignore, and including a specific date in the name, Stone subtlety influences our behavior and our decision making process. It encourages us to “carpe diem.”

    The name promotes self-selection, speaking to consumers who understand the meaning and who appreciate fine beers. "12.21.12 " emphasizes urgency in purchase and immediacy for its enjoyment – buy and drink this now. A unique customer experience with enhanced appeal is created and expressed in the product’s name.

    This approach won’t work for all brands looking to change habits. Using a specific date in a name is not a long-term solution and could be seen as a marketing gimmick in a sector where timeliness is less relevant.

    For a product like beer, however, which is brewed in batches it works perfectly and differentiates the microbrew artisanal quality from macro breweries. It fits in perfectly with the Stone ethos as well — simple and enjoyable. And it gives you just another reason to drink a good beer tonight.

    Katie Conneally is an Associate Consultant, Verbal Identity for Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Ilan Beesen on Monday, June 13 2011 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

    There are two poles on the imbibing spectrum, the “Beer is Beer Drinker” and the “Beer Nerd.” For the majority of us who fall somewhere between these polar opposites, beer selections are made for a variety of reasons. Nostalgia may come into play – perhaps it’s what Grandpa always ordered. Convenience or distribution surely plays a part: Why go across town for a particular six-pack when they carry another brand at the store across the street? Cultural identification might make the decision for you; consider the differences in taste that likely exist between Nascar fans and Indie rock concertgoers. Then there’s price – if you skew towards the “beer is beer” mentality, then we’re talking about a commodity and more bang for your buck is likely your m.o. Finally, taste preference must play a major role for all but those who are squarely in the “Beer is Beer” corner.

    Fine. But what about the names, do they play a part in the selection process? The behemoths of brewing are household names: Heineken, Corona, and, of course, Budweiser, to name a few (find them on the Interbrand Best Global Brands 2010). Aside from the suggestion of royalty and decadence in Corona name, which means “crown” in Spanish, the others are merely indicators of origin. A family name in the case of Heineken and the Czech town of Budweis in, you guessed it, the case of Budweiser. Given the massive distribution and popularity of these beers, it’s difficult to see the name in isolation from the other brand elements and most importantly, its heritage.

    If we slide towards the “Beer Nerd” end of the spectrum, a world of craft beer is revealed that includes products as varied and nuanced as the products of any industry. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewery is defined as a brewery that produces less than 6 million US beer barrels/year, and there are a lot of them. Based on a count in 2010, there are approximately 1,750 in operation, and many of them produce multiple beer types using multiple product names. A trip to the grocery store for a six-pack could cause a terrible case of indecision for the best of us due to this proliferation of small beer brands. With such a vast variety of brew types and an open mind, how do we choose? The usual modes of selection fail us in this new, modern world of beer. Grandpa never faced an array like this.

    Enter naming. The first thing you’ll notice about craft beers is their propensity for strange and interesting names that often have a tenuous connection to suds. A casual survey of the Beeradvocate™ top beers list will reveal a wide range of names. The Russian River Brewing Company makes a seemingly abstract reference to both Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder of ancient Rome. Then there’s the playfully descriptive Heady Topper (promising plenty of head, sorry) and Hoppy Birthday (a shameless incorporation of "Hops"). There’s the wonderfully suggestive Ivan the Terrible and Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stouts. The Supplication American wild ale may provide the blessing you need to make it back from The Abyss, the 11 percent ABV imperial stout from the Deschutes Brewery’s. Just make sure you steer clear of the Mother of All Storms English barley wine unless the forecast is calling for Chocolate Rain.

    While the craft nature of these breweries will prevent their wonderfully esoteric beers from gaining wide global distribution, breweries still must compete for our attention in the local grocery store. If the inner Beer Nerd is calling and you’re unfamiliar with the selection, your choice of Double Sunshine IPA over Bell’s Two Hearted Ale may come down to choice of words. But if all the naming is making it even harder for you to choose your next brew, maybe it’s time for a Reality Czeck…of the Czech Pilsner variety, that is. 

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  • Posted by: Craig Stout on Friday, April 23 2010 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

    Here's a brilliant, quick use of Twitter on behalf of a company you may not expect to be the most saavy when it comes to social media.

    Gray Powell is the Apple engineer who lost his iphone prototype at a German bar, as reported by Gizmodo.

    So far, no reports that he's taken up the offer.

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