During a recent move, I came across a couple of beer bottles labeled X and Y with a Labatt Copper label on the neck. "X" was a Lager, while "Y" was an Ale. It's been years since I've seen a Labatt Copper beer, but I recall I was part of the beer drinking public that decided which of X and Y would become Labatt Copper. Chances are, they sold more X and Y than they did Labatt Copper. In a two-week period during January 1995, more than 115,000 people voted in the most creative market research initiative ever conducted by a brewer. In the end, "X", the lager, which should come as no surprise to Canadian beer drinkers, was chosen by 56.9 percent of voters in four provinces.
So as a marketer, I would rank this creative endeavour VERY highly. It engaged the consumer in a way that had never been done before or since. And it sold them a lot of beer over that 2 week period. If each voter purchased a 6 pack (3 of each X and Y) then Labatts sold 690,000 bottles in 4 provinces in 2 weeks. Based on the fact I have not seen a similar initiative since 1995 and that the product is not longer available from Labatt's, the campaign must have cost a fortune and not lived up to expectations.
But if one considers a 2011 campaign, with Internet and social media available, one might consider selling a million bottles of beer over 2 weeks a huge marketing success. I look forward to seeing a similar campaign for a product in the near future once marketers grasp the best use of online and social media to create even more excitement. Who will be the first? Or the next? Until next time, I am Larry "The Ad Man".