The Perils of Marketing

Labatt Breweries is in negotiations to purchase Hamilton’s very own brewery Lakeport. There has been speculation that Labatt will close the Lakeport brewery, which has some people upset.

Enter hamiltonbeer.com, a website that was clearly created as a protest against this move by Labatt.

If this move by Labatt will have a negative impact in Hamilton – which is certainly possible – then I support the intent behind this website.

The problem is that the website reeks of marketing. This is not too surprising, since it is the brainchild of Michael Manzoni, Executive Partner of FloodGate Marketing Inc., according to the About Us page.

For example, the home page says, “There are two prominent truths about beer drinkers: They are loyal to their brand and they cling tightly to principles.”

As an office colleague said when I read this to him, “Beer drinkers only cling to their principles until they’ve had their first two beers.”

I get the sense that the person who wrote that line was expressing it in the spirit of faint hope, rather than any practical experience with the average beer-drinking Hamiltonian.

The site claims it only exists to solicit opinions and there is certainly no shortage of opinions posted on the message board, including this one posted by “Been There…..” from London:

The Labatt Brazilian folks are going to rape and pillage. Move brewing to London. Fire all employees. Blow up Hamilton plant so that it can never again be used by a competitor. Expansion? They just spent millions in London, closing Toronto and New Westminster. Letting Ontario staff go by the truckload. Clawing back pensioner benefits – big time!! Lakeport is history…

The footer text of the website is also amusing in a oddly self-referential way. It says “You must be legal drinking age to view this website.”

This website is a great example of the perils of marketing, particularly when it comes to grassroots causes.

By the time the designers of the site were finished with it the grassroots opposition to this move by Labatt was unrecognizable. Slicked-up and packaged, it’s now just as fake and just as silly as the beer commercials where hockey-loving alcoholics get all the girls.

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