The other night I was cooking and caught a new Big Beer television commercial from the black and white tv in my kitchen. I was struck by how counter intuitive it seemed to have someone from a giant industrial brewer to be promoting the specialness and great complexity of taste in a beer category that is notoriously considered neutral in flavor.
It seemed so transparent to me. One of those me-too campaigns that might have cut through the beer advertising clutter 20 years ago. But today, with every beverage category that's hot or growing by double digits having a central value proposition about interesting stories, special ingredients, places and people, this commercial jumped out at me as if it were saying, "We blew it. We waited too long. We loved being the big beer boys and we now want into the premium party. Let us in!!"
And if they genuinely do commit to changing their formula, water source, volume of production, general methods, etc. to create full-flavored interesting beers or through acquisition continue to move their main brand from commodity to micro brew style, then I think eventually they'll have something legit to talk about. However, from my hyper-focused "show me the story" perspective, I just don't understand how anyone in this climate would agree to promote a beverage that didn't fall into the super-premium or ultra-premium category?
As an agency, we would never dream of taking on a client whose brand didn't already have the premium positioning. Despite coming to the table with deep pockets (which are certainly attractive) commodities will continue to quietly play a role in convenience stores, supermarkets, casual dining and other channels, but in order to be successfully promoted by publicists, brands need to be top shelf.