99 Logos for Beer on the Wall
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I like beer.
I brew my own at home, keep a running tab on Beer Advocate's ever-changing Top 100 Beers list to see how many I've tried (43 at last count), and follow beer news to stay abreast of new releases and factors influencing the industry. To say I'm into beer is a bit of an understatement.
What does this have to do with our industry? In the image box above, I present to you Exhibit A.
All of those glasses are promotional items I received at bars, tastings or as giveaways with cases or six-packs. Not pictured are another half-dozen pint glasses I've been given, as well as a few branded rocks glasses and shot glasses for various liquors and bars. And I cherish each one.
People are fiercely loyal to the drink of choice, and this has as much to do with taste as it does with image; look at any beer or liquor television commercial and you will see a product that has branded itself into a lifestyle. Bud Light advertisements show fans at baseball games and sports bars, and Corona sits next to vacationers relaxing on sandy beaches. Bacardi and Smirnoff show attractive people dancing at clubs and relaxing in posh lounges.
These images create the brand, and viewers in turn are attracted to the products that reflect their preferred lifestyle. As a thought experiment, what do you imagine when you think about a 14-year-old scotch? How about a cosmopolitan? What you think of will naturally be based partially on your own tastes and experiences, but there's a reason scotch is associated with rich old men and cosmos are seen in the hands of younger women: those are the target audiences, and we've internalized that branding.
Just as these brands go out of their way to attach themselves to certain lifestyles, so too do bars and restaurants. My favorite watering hole, mentioned in last year's article, has posters, banners and paintings of beer advertisements brought over from Europe, while the dive bar across the street has neon lights for Miller High Life and Blue Moon. Beer is branded for certain lifestyles, and bars in turn brand themselves with certain beers.
According to the National Restaurant Association, bars and restaurants take up a whopping 49 percent of all money spent on food in a year, with the industry projected to make $580 billion in 2010; it should come as no surprise that companies put so much emphasis on getting their beers into bars. Next time you go out to eat or for happy hour, make a mental list of all the promotional items you see, and think about how you can help your service industry clients to benefit from all this branding.
For more ideas on working with bars and restaurants, read Mike's feature “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” in this month's issue of Promo Marketing.