Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

All the PBR at the Rubicon Headquarters? Turns out that they were just in on the ground floor of a hipster trend. As per usual. This from a Salon article by Laura Miller (pointed out to me by MeMo).

"Buying In" is an often startling tour of this new cultural terrain, taking
in such iconic products as Hello Kitty, Timberland, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Red
Bull, as well as Scion, a line of Toyotas that I, apparently, am too uncool to
have known about before. Some of these brands, like Timberland and Pabst (or
PBR, as the hipsters call it), were established, if small-time, entities before
certain consumer subcultures adopted them. The hip-hop world took a liking to a
line of boots that had been created for construction workers by a New England
family company. Bike messengers in the Pacific Northwest made a Milwaukee beer
the brew of choice in the indie-rock scene. In both cases, the manufacturers of
those products were disconcerted by their new customers. What they understood to
be the cultural meaning of their products -- footwear for working men, and cheap
suds for the 45-to-65-year-old Midwestern set -- had been redefined by complete

This, Walker observes dryly, is what marketing managers mean when they
talk of the need to "collaborate" with consumers. The CEO of Timberland became
briefly notorious in hip-hop circles for seeming not to welcome the change in
his customer base. (They've since patched things up and you can now buy pink
versions of the classic work boots.) PBR was more sure-footed: The brewer
carefully cultivated its image among the indie crowd by taking great care not to
cultivate its image: no ads on local radio, no celebrity endorsements (despite
nibbles from Kid Rock) and certainly no TV. PBR's divisional marketing manager,
cribbing tactics from Naomi Klein's anti-corporate manifesto, "No Logo" (full of
"many good marketing ideas," he told Walker!), worked to make PBR "always look
and act the underdog." He was so successful at retaining the brand's cachet (or
anti-cachet) that one 28-year-old Oregonian whom Walker interviewed had a
foot-square Pabst logo tattooed onto his back. "Pabst is part of my subculture,"
the kid told the writer, pointing to the absence of Pabst advertising as
evidence that "they're not insulting you."

It's not only cheap and nearly drinkable, it's trendy too! Who (over 40) knew?


DT said...

Olympia is the new PBR. In fact I think it was actually the old PBR too...

piglet said...

Olympia? You mean the Olympia that used to come from that old, broken-down, ruin of a brewery that you pass on I-5 in Olympia, WA?

Sounds delish.