View Full Version : Are You Tasting the Pith? - Brand Building in the 21st Century

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19-05-2011, 22:25
Visit the Are You Tasting The Pith? site (http://thebeerboy.blogspot.com/2011/05/brand-building-in-21st-century.html)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n0YgWQJRIAs/TdWJcTZjIxI/AAAAAAAAAa4/qxoyq6wVOo0/s320/kernel.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n0YgWQJRIAs/TdWJcTZjIxI/AAAAAAAAAa4/qxoyq6wVOo0/s1600/kernel.jpg)Marketing has a long and chequered history. From the 1950s heyday of the Madison Avenue whizzkids (as epitomised by 'Mad Men' - as essential as 'The Wire' in terms of TV crack), where advertising was unsophisticated lying, to the 1980s and sophisticated lying, to the 21st century, where advertising at its best means being sold something without realising you're being sold something. I'm not sure it's a question of style over substance any more, it's more a question of form over function. So powerful is the Kernel brewery's no-design aesthetic that even people who have never heard of them see the bottles, pick them up and say 'ohhh, yessss'. Plain brown paper with a minimalist design aesthetic (form) communicates a legal minimum of information (function) in a way that demonstrates brand values of self-assurance, integrity and modesty - in short, everything you would want from an artisan producer of anything. It helps that the beers are kick-ass too.

BrewDog's latest video, set up to plug the launch of the uncharacteristically dour beerleaks.org (http://http://www.beerleaks.org/) website, is another example of marketing trying not to be marketing. Unusually for 21st century media communication, it very explicitly gives a message, rather than simply giving a few carefully researched cues from you draw a conclusion that appears to be your own. Whereas a meta-analysis of the Kernel's branding leads to believe in the brand via it's no-brand identity, BrewDog hit you in the face so hard that it almost backfires. Surely they can't think I need the message spelled out this obviously? While everyone currently puts the a peculiarly British boot into BrewDog for being a success story (sure, it's annoying that they can't make enough beer, but you didn't ever really believe that whole 'Beer For Punks' schtick, did you?), I'm saddened that they feel the need to big themselves up by doing others down. Their beers are great enough to speak for themselves, and to try and further their aims by picking on Fosters, Stella and Carlsberg seems a bit like the school brainiac trying to outwit the rugby team by calculating differential equations out loud. We get it, but it's just a bit annoying.

Which brings us to Wells and Youngs' campaign for Bombardier, which I will never forget hearing pronounced as 'Bombar-dee-yay' by a host at a drinks industry awards ceremony, no doubt to (as then was) Charles Wells' immense annoyance. While this may not be the most sophisticated bit of brand-building (indeed, it's only 21st century by virtue of it having been made in 2011), it pushes all the right buttons. Fading actor - check. Schoolboy innuendo - check. Common catchphrase appropriated for advertising purposes - bang on, err, I mean check. By an incredible coincidence, just as I'm writing this the ad has popped up on TV, and I have to say that it plays a lot better on telly than it does via the web. Sure, the tittersome reference to the 'Bush & Fiddle' is brain-numbingly tedious, evoking a genuine moment of 'no, did they really do that?' (and not in a good way) but the moment where the Bombardier heads the first cannonball is priceless. Sadly, they lose my attention again at the end where the Bombardier whips a bottle out of his trousers. That's (a) unappealing and (b) unlikely to be anything close to an appropriate serving temperature.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/72277889156220824-2630734779510386392?l=thebeerboy.blogspot.com

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