Monday, November 18, 2013

Sell Out vs Co-Branding

collar & cuffs are white; that's money
One great thing about craft beer is the collaboration. It's rare to see an industry where most of the competitors are also brothers in arms. That collaboration often means co-marketing and, to a lesser degree, co-branding. Drinking Brewery Ommegang's Take the Black Stout inspired us to ask: "when a craft brewer co-brands with big names is it brilliant marketing or selling out?"

We here at Dumbarton's Beer contacted old friend Donny Deutsche, one of America's foremost marketing executives, to ask what one should consider before entering into a co-branding arrangement. I can't talk about this shit. I work for the government; what the hell do I know about marketing? Anyway, some things to consider...

Co-branding fits both brands. I'll be honest, I couldn't even get through the plot summary for Game of Thrones but the images online and on the bottle are how I imagine Cooperstown to look in late August. Seriously, imagine the Ommegang Brewery is the capital of Thrones-ville surrounded by peasants, lots of fields, and a moat. Men with swords, bows and arrows fighting over maidens and speaking in bad Olde English. Also, there's a baseball game at high noon - no gloves allowed.

The quality of the products. You absolutely cannot water down your product (pun intended) in the name of marketing. This is probably more important for the beer than the books/movies. I'm sitting here drinking "Take Black Stout" so I can verify the quality of the beer. It's up to Ommegang standards.

Most importantly, co-branding sells both brands. Game of Thrones is probably going to make some money. The question is are these partners dancing in step or is somebody playing lead? It needs to be clear that both are going to increase sales because of this partnership. Game of Thrones on the label probably helps sell Ommegang and hopefully it goes both ways. However, I'm not convinced that Ommegang is going to inspire craft brew geeks to get into the series.

1 comment:

Cornelius Agrippa said...

Big surprise this is the only comment with such intelligent statements like " I'll be honest, I couldn't even get through the plot summary for Game of Thrones"

Wow, just wow. Keep drinking.