Shaken, not stirred…..




When I was a young District Sales Manager for Lone Star Brewing Company, I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with Harry Jersig, Chairman and founder of the brewery.  He grew up with Lyndon B. Johnson in South Texas and they were friends.  On numerous occasions, Harry mentioned that LBJ served Lone Star Beer in the White House….a fact in which Harry took great pride.

In the late 70’s, Paul Newman used to drink and promote Coors, however, once the United Farm Workers Union and the Gay activists started boycotting Coors for their political views, Newman switched to Budweiser.  I always wondered, how then, did that Bud bow-tie logo get decaled on Newman’s race car?  I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

About that same time, Coors signed Lee Trevino to represent their brand.  Since distribution was limited to west of the Mississippi, Trevino was only required to carry the logoed golf bag in those markets.  Trevino also participated in six golf exhibitions per year, playing nine holes in specified markets.  Not so sure those exhibitions helped Coors, but they were well attended and a lot of fun!

Over the years, many celebrities have represented various beer brands. Even the great Ben Hogan once endorsed Pabst Blue Ribbon!  Celebrities have also served as spokesmen for various brands, including Mark Harman for Coors Banquet and, of course, Ed McMann, for Budweiser.  I always wondered just how effective was that type of marketing?

It’s been published that Heineken has paid $45 million for the rights to the new James Bond movie “Skyfall.”  This reportedly included product placement in the film and even one scene where Bond actually drinks a Heineken.  There was an additional scene in “Skyfall” with one of the other actors drinking a Heineken while helping Bond at the headquarters of the British MIS.  Odd that drinking beer in that situation would be allowed, even for the British?  I’m sure that $45 million dollars helped.

Recent Nielsen scans show that the Heineken brand is up +5% and the franchise is up +4.5%,  although the SIG numbers for November 4th indicate a +4.4% for Heineken, -8.7% for the Heineken Light.   This increase is attributed to the movie (wonder what the world numbers look like?) which just started playing in the US.  After two weekends, the total global revenues are $669 million for the movie!

This past summer, I had lunch with of one of the leading craft brewers in the U.S..   We discussed what they had recently attributed to the positive increase for their  the sales numbers.  This brewery had tried everything, including TV, but what they said were the two most impactful programs for them:  (1) hiring “feet on the street” and  (2) upgrading packaging.  This brewery had found that the consumer today is “looking for a story” on the package.   This brewery took three of their brands and added a story to the six packs. The findings support the information from research that the consumer spends more time at the cold box than anywhere else in the store.  Immediately sales for this particular craft beer surged on all three brands!  If you haven’t noticed, Heineken now has the James Bond image on their packaging.

So the question becomes, can the $45 million dollar investment in James Bond lift the Heineken image globally?  And, if so, for how long?  Perhaps that question should be asked to the “most interesting man in the world,” whatever his name is .








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