Here’s a head-scratcher for you, folks. According to Advertising Age, leading big brewery marketers will be meeting in New York City to discuss ways to reverse the fortunes of their main labels, what Ad Age calls “brand beer.”
It seems that the penny has finally dropped — or at least glimmered in the distance — for the big brewers and they have decided that perhaps a combined effort is necessary to slow or even reverse the recent downward fortunes of big beer. The meeting will be held under the auspices of the Beer Institute, which is a lobbying/umbrella group for the brewing industry in the U.S. (The BI differs from the Brewers Association, or BA, in that it includes, some may say is steered by, big brewers and importers like Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors and Heineken USA., while the BA is craft breweries only.)
According to Ad Age, new BI chairman, MillerCoors ceo Tom Long, hopes “to bring energy and ideas to the many programs and plans that tell the story about beer being the right choice for consumers and retailers alike.” How this might happen, if it might happen, is still unknown.
One thing I am fairly certain of, however, is that at no point during the meetings will these collected marketers say, “You know, maybe if we stopped producing daft ads and relying on gimmicks like lime-flavoured beer or swirling bottle necks and instead concentrated on what the stuff tastes like, people would return to drinking our products.”
In fact, I’m more inclined to agree with former A-B exec Bob Lachky, who is quoted at the end of the Ad Age article expressing his scepticism of any agreement even emerging from these talks. He should know, having engineered the now-defunct “Here’s to Beer” program, which promoted beer as an entity rather than as the collected brands of his company, only to see the industry desert it en masse.