All Hail Duquesne Beer the Prince of Pilsener

Earlier this week, I attended the Pittsburgh American Marketing Association’s annual kickoff dinner at Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory. I was delighted to hear Duquesne beer president Mark Dudash talk about how his wife Maria and he are reviving the Prince of Pilsener, Duquesne Beer. Here’s the back story from their Website – it’s a great one too.

Mark’s an attorney and a proud city of Pittsburgh guy like me – in fact, we went to rival highs schools – South Catholic (Beechview – him) and Bishop Canevin (Westwood – 28th Ward – me).  He might not be a “classically trained” marketer, but Maria and he are super smart marketers nonetheless – believe me. They didn’t jump into spending a ton of money in outbound marketing, but rather spent their money on creating a unique, high quality brand – a super premium Pilsener beer – at a fair price. And, with their inbound marketing efforts – via Faceboook – their raving fans are spreading their good word.

During his keynote, Mark repeatedly used words and phrases like, ‘loyalty, ‘having fun,’ ‘conducting your due diligence,’ ‘understanding your product’ and doing the right things right. Believe me…the Dudash’s are doing a ton of ‘right things right.’

When we consult with brands, we conduct a ton of research before we ever recommend marketing strategies, tactics and tools.

In fact, we start every new client engagement with a simple, initial 5 question exercise such as:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What’s your story?
  3. Why should someone care?
  4. What’s your dramatic difference?
  5. How can/do you passionately demonstrate and convey your dramatic difference?

Maria and Mark, may have not known the questions above, but more importantly, they sure know the answers and are hitting the cover off the ball!

I’m a big fan of Duquesne Beer – it tastes great and its a great brand – and will be rooting for them to “stick it to the man” – the man – or men – being the likes of Mr. Budweiser, Mr. Miller, Mr. Coors and more.

Good luck sweet Prince! We’re glad to have you back!

P.S.: Looking forward to you bringing back Ft. Pitt Beer too!

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Be Wary of Vulgar Marketing

Back in December of 2009, Nicorette launched a $15 million integrated marketing campaign complete with a fictitious ‘Suckometer’ around the bold statement that, Nicorette makes quitting smoking suck less. In addition, it was the GlaxoSmithKline brand’s first foray into social media.

Nicorette Makes Quitting Suck Less Campaign

As a quick backgrounder, here are a few select statements from the Nicorette Website.

There’s no way around it, quitting sucks. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do in life. That’s why quitting can be a challenge. To be successful, you need to overcome both your physical addiction to nicotine and your psychological addiction — the urge to repeat the same smoking routines every day, like smoking in the car and after meals. …Sure, quitting will always suck, but Nicorette makes quitting suck less.

Does Vulgar Marketing Work?

When the campaign launched, I thought it was a cheap, vulgar marketing effort and still do. The campaign is still running so, I wanted to see if it’s working. In short, I’m not exactly sure how the campaign is doing, but here are a few things I discovered.

There was a HCD Research/Mediacurves survey conducted in 2010 among 300 viewers of a new Nicorette gum ad and showed that nearly half of smokers (49%) were more likely to try to quit smoking after viewing the ad.  The majority of viewers (80%) felt the ad was extremely or somewhat effective, and more than one-third of smokers (34%) said that they would be more likely to use Nicorette gum to help them quit their smoking addiction.

The numbers are fine, but we all know that people don’t always do what they say they’re going to do. So, I’m not convinced of the strategy.

Does Nicotine Replacement Gum Work?

I’m not sure if the gum works, but I’d bet that they sold a ton of it. The thing is, even if you sell a ton of product, if it doesn’t work, what does that say about you and your brand long term? Without brand trust and integrity based on a positive experience what does the future hold for your brand?

This eHow article reports that…‘normally, there is only a 5 percent success rate of smokers quitting their habit for a full year (without the use of replacement products), which makes the success rate of Nicorette Gum between 7 and 8 percent. Not the best odds. …Of the top five “quit smoking methods,” not a single nicotine replacement gum made the list, including Nicorette Gum.’

Great Products Lead to Positive Word of Mouth Advertising

After 1.5 years and spending $15 million, Nicorette’s own Website only has one success story! Are you kidding me? If Nicorette Gum is such a great product, why aren’t there a ton of people in TV ads, on YouTube and Facebook raving about the product?

I’m always a bit leery of brands that spend a ton of money on marketing (and vulgar, uncivil advertising to boot) because let’s face it, if the product was so great, people would be spreading the word on their own. My advice would have been to take the $15 million and build a better product or service – one that truly works and adds value – customers will come, rave about you and spread your good word.

P.S.: Full disclosure: I’m in my late 40s, a nonsmoker and far from being a prude, however I am offended, not impressed or motivated to purchase by cheap, vulgar, uncivil and classless marketing. And, I firmly believe that if in fact Nicorette’s product is a super terrific one, they would have sold as much if not more product with raving customers who quit smoking once and for all. Net…they wouldn’t have had to ‘go there.’ Nor should you…ever!

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Idlewild & SoakZone Repeats as Best Children’s Park

Congratulations to our super client and all of our super friends at Idlewild & SoakZone for repeating as the ‘Best Children’s Park in the World!’ Here’s the press release we put on the wire earlier today.  What a well deserving bunch!

Idlewild & SoakZone Repeats as Best Children’s Park in the World

LIGONIER, PA – September 17, 2011 – Today, at its Golden Ticket ceremony held in Santa Claus, Indiana, Amusement Today Magazine (http://www.amusementtoday.com) recognized Pennsylvania’s Idlewild & SoakZone (http://www.idlewild.com) as the ‘Best Children’s Park in the World’ for the second consecutive year.

“The Golden Tickets are awarded based on a poll of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans worldwide,” explained Gary Slade, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Amusement Today.  “Since the inception of the best children’s park category in 2004, Idlewild & SoakZone placed in the top two, and placed first in 2010.  It’s a testament to Idlewild & SoakZone’s perseverance in providing a unique family- friendly entertainment value in such a beautiful park setting.”

“This honor means a lot to our dedicated team members, who work hard to provide a fun, family-friendly experience every season.  To be recognized as one of the best is fantastic news for our guests and the Laurel Highlands region, who have supported us for over 130 years,” said Park spokesperson Jeff Croushore.  “We’re overjoyed to once again be named Best Children’s Park and wish to share this award with all of our fans, both the young and the young at heart.”

For more information about the 2011 survey results, visit: http://www.goldenticketawards.com/

ABOUT AMUSEMENT TODAY’S GOLDEN TICKET AWARDS

Amusement Today is an amusement industry trade publication based in Arlington, Texas.  Introduced in 1998, the Golden Tickets are the most prized awards in the industry. Amusement park fans worldwide are asked to rate the top parks in 25 categories. The 2011 international poll was the eighth for children appeal in its 14-year history. For more information, call 817.460.7220 or visit http://www.amusementtoday.com.

ABOUT IDLEWILD & SOAKZONE

Founded in 1878 as a picnic ground along the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, Idlewild & SoakZone (www.idlewild.com) is the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and third-oldest in America.  Featuring seven theme areas, operations run late-May through Labor Day with “Hallowboo,” a Halloween-themed event, taking place in October. Idlewild is part of the Palace Entertainment family of parks that hosts over 14 million visitors annually at five theme parks, two animal parks, 10 waterparks, and 21 family entertainment centers. For more information, call 724.238.3666 or visit http://www.idlewild.com and http://www.palaceentertainment.com.

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Truth and Love Always Win

In life as well as is in brand marketing – long-term – truth and love always win.

On this solemn day of September 11 – the 10th anniversary of  a day we Americans will never forget – I’m reminded of this truism and quote…

When I despair, I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants, and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Wishing peace and comfort to all today and prayers to those who lost their lives and loved ones 10 years ago.

Let’s Roll America!

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