Can you imagine dedicating staff to do nothing but blog about your competitors? To report on their news? Run their press releases and re-run their articles? Well, in a stunning blogging strategy, Miller Brewing Company has done just that.
Brew Blog is not your typical stealth blog in that it is clearly labeled as being “brought to you by the Miller Brewing Company.” What it is, is the most ingenious corporate blog I’ve seen in quite some time. Miller hired former a Advertising Age reporter, James Arndorfer, to cover their industry, including the competition. They instructed him to write just like a beat reporter would.
The brilliance is that they’ve created a legitimate source for industry news (product launches, Nielsen sales stats, etc.) across all beer makers. By offering information that is genuinely useful to media, the blog becomes a go-to source for the press. They cover all companies to get the draw, and then toss in their own news to a waiting audience.
But, the best part is it’s written with just the slightest nuance of commentary. Take the post: More Bud/Bud Light Extensions on Tap?
In this post, they say: Back in January, Anheuser-Busch told Brandweek that it planned to tone down its new product push and focus on its core brands…Since then, of course, A-B has announced plans to introduce Bud Light Lime…
That “of course” is brilliant strategy. It is so subtle, but implies so much. (i.e. “back in Jan, they said they’d do this…then – of course – they did that”) It subliminally positions the competition as less-than-credible.
According to David Kesmodle’s WSJ article, Brew Blog is the brainchild of Paul Pendergrass and Pete Marino, communications consultants for Miller who wanted Miller to have more influence over what’s covered in the industry. The site reaches mostly beer-industry professionals and received about 24,000 visits in the month ending April 10 — representing more than 12,000 individual visitors.
Kesmodle uncovered another great example of the slyness behind this strategy in his article: In February, Mr. Arndorfer’s industry sources were telling him that Anheuser was planning a lime-flavored version of Bud Light, the world’s best-selling beer. He posted an article saying Anheuser appeared poised to roll out a knockoff of Miller Chill, a lime-and-salt-flavored brew launched by Miller last year. The scoop, chased by this and other publications, allowed Miller to paint Bud Light Lime as a “follower,” says Nehl Horton, Miller’s senior vice president for communications.
So, kudos to Miller for a truly unique, super-stealth, and – by all accounts – successful blogging strategy! You’ve definitely raised the bar for us.