If you enjoy having a beer now and again, you’ve probably noticed that more and more craft beers have been crowding store shelves in recent years. Long gone are the days when Budweiser and Miller were among your only choices for a nice, cold beverage. These days, the craft beer scene has taken off, and small, local breweries are gaining the attention of drinkers. But despite the tremendous growth of craft beer business, it still represents only a fraction of all beer sales nationwide. So, these scrappy breweries are forced to get creative if they want to stand out and make sales. That sets the stage for what just might be my favorite publicity stunt of 2014 to date.
Austin Beerworks, an independent craft brewery from, you guessed it, Austin, TX, recently gained international attention when it announced it would be putting out a limited run of 99-packs of its new Peacemaker Anytime Ale. Yes, you read that right – a 99-pack of beer. Measuring in at 7 feet long and weighing 80 pounds, the massive cases of canned beer that were born from a joke created a deafening viral buzz across social media. It didn’t take long for CNN, New York Daily News, MSN, and countless other media outlets to come calling wanting to know more about this bizarre story.
On its first day of release, the company put out 20 of its 99-packs, updating fans via social media as each pack was delivered to various local stores in Austin. The company immediately sold all 20 of its 99-packs, with some stores holding lotteries to determine which customers would get the honors of going home with one.
The success of the promotion stunned Austin Beerworks co-founder Michael Graham.
“It was definitely a joke,” Graham told KXAN in Austin. “I would consider it a joke And it’s one that just took off on its own and now we have to kind of treat it seriously.”
Graham went on to say that you can “never underestimate the power of a stupid idea,” noting that the small Austin brewery has even received requests from Germany and Italy for its novelty packs thanks to that “stupid idea.”
As publicity stunts go, this one was a homerun. Why? I can point to a few reasons:
- It fit the company’s message. The main message is that the Peacemaker Anytime Ale is a light, crisp beer you can drink anytime, so you’ll want to have plenty on hand. The monstrous 99-pack of beer underscores that message in a fun, unforgettable way.
- The company took a risk. Graham wasn’t afraid to try what he referred to as a “stupid idea.” Sometimes, the best stunts are born from a seemingly ridiculous, impossible idea. That’s what makes people want to talk about them!
- They made it fun. When the brewery realized the buzz it was getting for its 99-pack, they milked it for all it was worth, using social media to get crazed, loyal fans to follow their delivery van around for a chance to be a part of something fun and unique.
- They were prepared. If you’re going to pull off such a big stunt, you need to be prepared. Austin Beerworks made sure they had plenty of product, a means for sustaining buzz, and an eagerness and readiness to deal with the media blitz that followed.
What do you think of this publicity stunt? Have you seen a better one in 2014? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download Five (5) Free PR and Press Release eBooks ($67 Value) here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/bundle.html