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American Beer Brands Clash With Politicians, At Home and Abroad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2015 05:26 PM

Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, "As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him."

Well, the attitude toward the New England Brewing Company is not one of peace and love these days. The controversy stems from a recent release by the brewery: Gandhi-Bot.

The Connecticut-based company has apologized for the liquid tribute to the revered leader, but also noted that it was trying to pay tribute to the man who led India to independence from British rule and is a hero of nonviolent protest across the globe, India.com reports.

Gandhi’s grandson and granddaughter even "expressed their admiration for the label," the brewer claims.Continue reading...

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Cuba Opening, Rum Brands and Fans Look Forward to Havana Good Time

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2014 02:16 PM

Havana Club rum Cuba Facebook statement

Among other benefits, some in the branding world are hopeful that the opening of talks by the White House aimed at "normalizing" U.S.-Cuban relations may mean that Americans will soon be able to swim in a river of Cuban-made rum—although they can keep their swimsuits packed away while the legal issues are worked out.

As it now stands, American citizens cleared to visit Cuba may bring back $400 worth of goods. However, only $100 of that can be alcohol and tobacco. It remains unclear when or how that will change. But what is certainly bound to change soon is the number of visitors from the States making their way to Cuba.

Since 2011, Americans have only been allowed to visit the country on educational trips. But the Associated Press reports that those stringent rules will be loosened thanks to the White House's opening of relations, which could mean a big boost to the tourism industry in Cuba, not to mention the rum makers.Continue reading...

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How Budweiser Woos Craft Beer-Loving Millennials: Wooden Crates, Jay Z

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 24, 2014 01:38 PM

Budweiser truly was the King of Beers a quarter century ago, selling almost 50 million barrels back in 1988. Just ten years ago, it held 14.4% share of the massive U.S. beer market. But now, the iconic American beer only has a 7.6% U.S. market share, and sold only 16 million barrels domestically last year. To combat the crushing numbers, the brand is refocusing its marketing efforts on—who else?—millennials.

According to research from parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, around 44% of 21- to 27-year-olds have never sampled Budweiser; only a generation earlier, it would have been hard to believe that number could exist.

AB InBev is looking to boost awareness (and sales) by going after those twentysomething drinkers who predominantly favor craft beers. The Wall Street Journal reports that its all-ages marketing is being augmented with a focused effort to target that early- and mid-20s demo, including Jay Z (whose Made in America festival Budweiser sponsors) and, naturally, zombies.Continue reading...

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Heineken Named Creative Marketer of the Year by Cannes Lions

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2014 04:11 PM

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has named Heineken the 2015 Creative Marketer of the Year.

For those keeping score, this nod likely feels inevitable—after all, six Heineken-owned brands in seven countries have won 41 awards at the world's most prestigious advertising, marketing and branding festival during the past three years alone.

But this marks only the second time that the brewer's flagship brand has won the Creative Marketer of the Year award—its last win was in 1995.Continue reading...

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Booze News: Sea Beer, Space Whisky and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 26, 2014 07:02 PM

• Samuel Taylor Coleridge may have looked at the ocean and seen “water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink,” but at least one brewer saw it a little differently. A new beer, Er Boqueron, is made from “exhaustively” filtering water from the Mediterranean Sea, according to The Drinks Business blog. The beer’s label has won a design award in Spain and the drink itself took home two gold stars at the annual Superior Taste Awards, which is overseen by 120 chefs and sommeliers.

• Scottish whisky distiller Ardbeg just released its latest batch of single-malt Supernova. To celebrate, though, it did something it had never done before: unloaded whisky that had been floating around the Earth 15 times a day for the last three years on the International Space Station. It isn’t known if the space whisky experiment has been a success scientifically but it certainly is paying off on the PR front.

• America may soon have its first known crowdfunded beer. New laws in Wisconsin have allowed MobCraft Beer in Madison to go over cash to help fund the brewing of its beers.Continue reading...

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Bud Light's Whatever is a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Brand Campaign

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 12, 2014 05:46 PM

As if sent by Snapchat, the new light beer campaigns accompanying a new football season are too often self-erasing. Remember Bud Light's campaign "theme" last football season? Miller Lite's? Coors'? We didn't think so.

Aside from occasional great Super Bowl ads and Bud's "Wassssssup?" home run, mainstream beer advertising is insipid, loud, fast, still often shockingly chauvinistic, overly complicated and, worst of all, brand interchangeable. Is it any wonder sales of craft and imported beer brands, which offer substance and character, have skyrocketed, especially among Millennials?

Now along comes Bud Light with "Whatever," perhaps the most appropriately named mainstream beer campaign ever. Luckily for Bud, its Whatever campaign is turning out to be somewhat memorable. Unluckily for Bud, it's because it's for the wrong reasons. And yes, Vanilla Ice—yes, that one—is involved. Continue reading...

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New Booze in Old Bottles: Alcohol Goes Retro for Eternal Cool Factor

Posted by Taylor Goddu on May 20, 2014 01:23 PM

A psychological phenomenon regarded as “the mere-exposure effect” suggests that people tend to gravitate towards the familiar. Taking something old and making it new is trendy—even fashionable—in this eco-friendly world of ours. Established brands are returning to their roots, mining their archives by reintroducing iconic products with a modern twist. 

Even new booze brands are harkening back to the good old days, whether in name, design, or messaging. This strategy makes the new feel more familiar—and desirable. With a consistent focus on artisanal qualities, newer brands are standing out by deploying vintage typography, line-base logos, bright colors, and more simplistic packaging techniques.

With a business model that would be at home in Portlandia, The Mason Shaker is tipping one back. Founded in 2012 by best friends with southern roots, this Brooklyn-based brand developed a 4-piece cocktail shaker set featuring the iconic Americana jam jar. This update on a product that was patented in 1858 feels refreshingly simple for sudsy occasions.Continue reading...

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$16 Billion Beam Inc. Acquisition Will See Greater Distribution of Whiskey Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 05:22 PM

Liquor giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard can start looking over their shoulders. Japan’s Suntory Holdings, which produces some of Japan’s oldest whiskeys, has just agreed to pay $16 billion for Beam Inc., the American producer of Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Sauza, and Gilbey’s, Ad Age reports. The deal makes Suntory the third-largest liquor company in the world. 

As a result of the deal, Suntory, which also bottles Pepsi in Japan and owns the Orangina brand, will have greater distribution in the US and Beam, whose portfolio includes the lucrative Skinnygirl line, will have much stronger exposure in the Asian marketplace. That’s a pretty good deal for Suntory, which currently sources 90 percent of its business from Japan. 

“Suntory has virtually no U.S. presence,” Mark Swartzberg, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note today, according to Bloomberg. “This will take their share from less than 1 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile, Beam stockholders will head to the bank with $83.50 for each share owned instead of the $66.97 share price that it last closed at." The two companies previously had a distribution deal in which Suntory distributed Beam products in Japan, and Beam distributed Suntory products in Singapore and greater Asia.Continue reading...

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