Newcastle Brown Ale are offering $1 to anyone who (lives in the USA and is over 21 and doesn’t follow them already) that starts following them on Twitter. The idea behind the spot is the kind of anti-marketing appeal Bill Hicks famously ribbed. It’s almost critical marketing in action.
This campaign is smart for a number of reasons. Just buying the ad space to reach customers on traditional media, even if they could advertise there, would probably cost more and the spot has already picked up some press attention (or earned media as it’s called). And, as they pay with a cheque, they must be banking on most people not bothering to cash them.
But I’m not sure that this concept works. Criticizing marketing as your marketing campaign is a difficult appeal to pull off and I don’t think this one does it. It comes off a bit insulting. “Sure we could come up with a cool fan contest, create exclusive content or make up unique hashtag but that takes a lot of work’, the video says. And this is the problem. What’s engaging about a $1 cheque? I could not follow Newcastle Brown Ale’s twitter account, and not buy their beer, and save much more than $1. While I’m not buying their beer, I could stay home and watch a series of Alan Partridge videos for free online (as Fosters offered).