Saturday, June 21, 2003

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Pabst is finally on an upswing again as the beer for people who hate marketing.

How do you market a product to people who hate marketing?

The most interesting theory is that P.B.R.'s fan base grew not despite the lack of marketing support, but because of it. The beer industry as a whole spends about $1 billion a year to pitch its product. Most of this advertising, through huge TV campaigns and relentless logo-slathering, is devoted to image-building (not surprising, since Consumer Reports concluded a few years ago that even devoted fans of the megasellers Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft could rarely tell them apart by taste). Long-neglected P.B.R. had no image. It was just there.

Understanding why some people might find this attractive is easy. The hard part is figuring how to exploit it. The answer that the Pabst Brewing Company has come up with involves cash payments to rowdy bike messengers. And the brewer may be onto something.

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