Oddly, many craft beer brands are doing just the opposite: Spending their money on advertising that pretty much says: "We're like every other craft beer."
How ironic that what's made craft brewing such a success, namely the unique properties of the beers, hasn't yet found its way into advertising.
Before you watch these three craft-beer ads, turn off the sound on your device. As if you were viewing them in a noisy bar. Then start all three videos simultaneously, or as close as you can.
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Yup. Yup. And yup.
Nothing wrong with any of that... unless you're competing with so many other beers featuring the very same things.
No distinctiveness = no sale
As we've pointed out many times, establishing a brand's provocative distinctiveness is key to successful advertising.
A critical marketing choice facing any advertiser is selecting the single feature of their brand that's most compelling and most distinctive. Sometimes it's a surprising, but seemingly minor fact that does the trick. But it's human nature to want to provide more information, not less.
That's probably why so many craft brewers abandon focus, and instead tell all they can about themselves in thirty seconds.
Craft brewers' two rookie mistakes
First, "Tellin' ain't sellin," as a smart advertiser once put it.
It's an advertising paradox: Load more into an ad, and less comes through. The strong temptation--especially so for entrepreneurs--to include all the details of their brand ends in a rookie mistake: a cluttered message that doesn't persuade. People viewing ads rarely remember more than one point, and if no single message comes through, no persuasion will occur.
For the three craft beer brands above, ask yourself: What was their one focused message? (Extra points for remembering which ad belonged to which brand.)
Second--and making matters even worse--when multiple competitors take the same unfocused, tell-all approach in the same product category, their ads only sell the generic, in this case, craft beer. It's like Budweiser advertising "Drink beer" to the benefit of Miller, Coors, Heineken, and every other brand. Few advertisers, least of all craft brewers, can afford to waste their ad dollars like that.
Making good ads can be easier than making good beer
Why create some of the best beer in the country, and then relegate its promotion to unremarkable, generic advertising?
Sooner or later, one sharp craft brewer's going to create the first great beer ad.