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Diageo's "dirty trick" brews up a Twitter storm
10 May 2012 11:51
One of BrewDog's understated PR 'episodes'
There really is nowhere to hide on Twitter. Particularly when you're a global corporation and you've been caught with your pants down, metaphorically speaking, by a notoriously PR-savvy independent brewer.
Step forward Diageo, the latest giant to feel the wrath of Tweeters.
Late yesterday, the company's name was trending – and not for the kind of reasons it would hope.
It came after maverick Scottish brewer BrewDog accused the drinks firm of intervening to stop them winning 'Bar Operator of the Year' at an awards ceremony in Scotland.
Apparently BrewDog got the judges' vote, but a (probably now former) representative of Diageo, sponsors of the awards, intervened to stop the brewer bagging the title.
Diageo has since owned up, offering this mea culpa:
“There was a serious misjudgement by Diageo staff at the awards dinner on Sunday evening in relation to the Bar Operator of the Year Award, which does not reflect in anyway Diageo’s corporate values and behaviour.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly to BrewDog and to the British Institute of Innkeeping for this error of judgement and we will be contacting both organisations imminently to express our regret for this unfortunate incident.”
Bad timing as well, as Diageo CEO Paul Walsh this week addressed the Ethical Corporation's Responsible Business Summit.
From our sources, we understand it is likely the Diageo representative involved went 'rogue' on the night and the incident points more to a personal grudge, rather than company-wide ill-feeling towards Brewdog. The Scottish brewer produces some fine craft beers, but nothing that would obviously worry Diageo.
Strangely though, the whole hoo-ha, while no doubt gutting for the staff at Brewdog's shortlisted bar, has been a PR win for the indie brewer.
As someone going under the name Flat Caps Coffee tweeted earlier : “Diageo do @brewdog a MASSIVE PR favour! Prob better than winning the award would have”.
While earlier, BrewDog lamented the fact on its official Twitter feed that Diageo was trending instead of their company name.
It's a funny old game.
The end of the traditional TV ad?
28 Mar 2012 11:46
What value is left in traditional TV advertising? Not much, if you believe the chief financial officer of one of the world's most advertised brands.
“The 30-second spot on television is no longer the way to do it. If you are like me, most of the TV you watch is recorded and then you skip over the ads.”
These are the words of Gary Fanyard, the Coca-Cola Co's CFO, speaking at last week's CAGE conference in London. Pretty strong stuff. But, Coca-Cola still sees opportunities in TV ads – it's just choosing its moments.
“The things you don't skip are the shows you want to watch because you want to talk about them the next day at work,” he added, “or things like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. These are the events we want to do a lot of advertising with, through tie-ins.”
Of course, like any right-thinking company these days, Coca-Cola is also using social media as part of its marketing armoury. Fanyard said one interesting aspect with things like Twitter was that consumers feel like they "own the brands", when they're talking about them online.
But, UK drinks producers, it appears, still believe in the power of the traditional TV commercial. Last week, brewer Greene King unveiled details of a new GBP4m campaign based on a new ad that will run across multiple channels next month, backed by online activity.
And Irn-Bru producer AG Barr also still sees value in the concept. Barr chief executive Roger White told me over lunch this week: “We still believe traditional marketing works, but you have to blend that with a digital perspective.”
So, not quite time to say 'cut' on the TV ad just yet.