Label PRomotion | What Do a Dog and Horses Have To Do with Beer?

Of all the Super Bowl commercials, my favorite and most memorable was the Budweiser ad where a lost puppy is menaced by predators near to home. Horses fend off the predator and come to the puppy’s rescue—then provide an escort to the house and a very relieved owner.

Known as “best buds,” the commercial certainly brands Budweiser, from the double entendre of “buds” to the Clydesdales escorting the puppy home. But more than that, it just makes me feel good to watch it. It’s so heartwarming and touching and, yes, I obviously remember Bud as the featured advertiser.

Okay, Bud isn’t my brand. But this commercial kind of makes me wish it was.

This is what the “new generation” of marketing is all about—memorable, thought-provoking, engaging stories tied to a particular product. Instead of a list of features, benefits, and price points to attempt driving home a sale (a la the cable and satellite company commercials out there), the advertiser paints a picture. Brand adoption and loyalty ensue in part because the story makes us feel good, entertained, and/or builds trust.

Most other Super Bowl commercials have gone to my brain trash receptacle. Many advertisers tried the storytelling approach, but they just didn’t resonate. I can’t remember one car company from another, or the message they were trying to convey.

So, what do a dog, horses, and beer have to do with labels and packaging?

Product makers have an opportunity to tell a story, paint a picture, and engage people through these avenues, just like with TV advertising. Granted, the medium is different—so it may not generate the immediate buzz of, say, a multimillion-dollar Super Bowl exposure.

But, it’s also part of an existing communication channel, so “retooling” to become more memorable to prospective and present buyers can certainly be much more cost-effective than broadcasting to an international TV audience.

One way to do this is to empower buyers to put themselves on the label or package, truly focusing attention on them versus the brand. Jones Soda accommodates on their site with a “Make Your Own Custom Label…Your photo. Your soda. Your brand. See yourself on a Jones Soda bottle! Simply choose a flavor, upload your personal photo, and write a special message for the back of the bottle, and you're there!”

In 2013, Jones sponsored a crowdsourcing photo contest entitled, “Jonesin’ for a Fiat500e,” and featured the winner from 10,000 North American entries on its soda labels. The idea was to raise awareness about new Jones and Fiat500e brands. According to a BusinessWire report, “‘Not only were we overwhelmed at the number of entries and buzz the photo contest generated,’ stated Jones Soda CEO Jennifer Cue, ‘but also with the way the two brands connected with our fan bases.’”

More than just a plug for the brands involved, this promotion also proved customer-centric and generated substantial positive PR among both present and prospective buyers.

For those ready to get creative with marketing, a la Budweiser and Jones, think about how to include that very valuable real estate—labels and packaging—to maximize exposure and awareness and reinforce the impact of the overall campaign.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.

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