Politics

The Perils of Marketing

By Adrian Duyzer
Published February 15, 2007

(First published on Ade's blog)

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 such a move.

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 reads, "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.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By True Blue Hamiltonian (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2007 at 20:32:24

Adrian,
There are always people like you who sit on the sidelines and complain as they watch the parade go by. Now somebody has the balls to voice an opinion and give others a chance to speak their mind and you criticize them for doing so.
I also suggest that if your office colleague loses his or her principles in as little as two beers there may be an integrity problem in your office.
If many more large Hamilton businesses close there will be nobody left here to read your blog. Whether or not the Hamiltonbeer site is self serving makes little difference to me. At least the people at Floodgate Marketing are taking a stand for a worthwhile cause, which is more than can be said for an armchair critic like you. I suspect you don't have the guts to post this - doesn't matter as long as you read it.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 15, 2007 at 21:01:23

Dude, you SO totally missed the point of Adrian's blog. With such a defensive comment, might you perhaps be Michael Manzoni??

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By True Blue Hamiltonian (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2007 at 22:21:07

Adrian,
There are always people like you who sit on the sidelines and complain as they watch the parade go by. Now somebody has the balls to voice an opinion and give others a chance to speak their mind and you criticize them for doing so.
I also suggest that if your office colleague loses his or her principles in as little as two beers there may be an integrity problem in your office.
If many more large Hamilton businesses close there will be nobody left here to read your blog. Whether or not the Hamiltonbeer site is self serving makes little difference to me. At least the people at Floodgate Marketing are taking a stand for a worthwhile cause, which is more than can be said for an armchair critic like you. I suspect you don't have the guts to post this - doesn't matter as long as you read it.

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By boneyard (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2007 at 09:54:04

I would swich to another brand, any other brand if they closed the Hamilton Lakeport Plant.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted February 16, 2007 at 20:40:49

3 criteria for my next brand if Lakeport goes down: Quality, local, small. Especially local and small.

Price is a distant fourth.

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By Brava (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2007 at 09:52:18

Today's Spec has an article that says Teresa wants hamiltonbeer.com shut down! She says it's because of Lakeport's trade mark on the site. That's bull! She just doesn't like what people are saying about her on the message board. Looks good on her!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 20, 2007 at 10:06:50

It's a little depressing that the CEO of a Hamilton based company wants to shut down a website that's actually promoting the company's continued existence. It's not like hamiltonbeer.com is trashing Lakeport - precisely the opposite, in fact.

The real issue, of course, is that Lakeport is an income trust and the government just changed the rules so that it now makes more business sense to for the Board accept a foreign takeover (yes, Labatt is a foreign-owned company) than to keep trying to grow and carve out a profitable market share as an independent.

Yay corporatism. :(

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