In addition to my obsessions over beer (not Amstel Light) and bicycling, I’m also an avid follower of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins. When the Bs won their first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years last month, I was elated (but I didn’t drink Amstel Light))!
Needless to say, after their Cup win, the Bruins and the entire city of Boston were pretty happy too. And, to celebrate, the team had a victory party at a nearby casino. Nothing too surprising there, other than the fact that the party ran up an alcohol bill of over $156,000 (at right)!
Three things emerged from that receipt. First, there was amazement that any group of people could drink $156,000 worth of alcohol and still remain standing. However, when you take out the $100,000 bottle of champagne (that was comped by the casino) and the service charges and taxes totaling over $31,000, the final alcohol bill was actually in the neighborhood of $25k. That’s still a lot of money for anyone, but peanuts for a professional sports team that just won their first championship in almost 40 years.
The latter two products of that bar tab were pure public relations genius. Whether they had anything to do with it getting out or not, Foxwoods Casino reaped well over $100,000 (the casino price of that bottle of champagne) worth of free publicity in the weeks after the receipt went viral on the web and on the airwaves, as well as the implied endorsement of “Visit Foxwoods Casino, where the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins come to party!” You can buy that kind of publicity, but it will cost waaaayyyy more than $100,000!
Finally, plenty of credit must be given to the folks at Amstel Light, who saw (based on the receipt) that only one bottle of their beer was consumed by someone at the party. Though lone bottles of Corona and Heineken Light were also consumed, it was Amstel Light who ran with the opportunity, making public their desire to know which Bruin ordered that Amstel Light and offering to supply free beer to said Bruin’s Independence Day celebration and day with the Stanley Cup (for you non-hockey fan readers, each member of the winning team gets to spend a day with Cup and most usually take it to their hometown and turn it into a city-wide party). Between the speculation and the offer, Amstel Light got thousands, if not millions of dollars worth of free publicity and enhanced visibility, all from a single bottle of beer and a single press release.
The lesson here is, you don’t need to win a Stanley Cup to generate free publicity for your business. It’s as easy as distributing a press release and making the most out of an event that’s newsworthy, like a new product, company anniversary, award, or charity sponsorship. It doesn’t take big bucks (or a big bar tab). Simply take advantage of the promotional opportunities that become available and you can give your business a whole lot of bang, for less than the price of a beer.
(And if you need help with your PR strategy, give us a call. We’d be happy to get together and map out a plan…and the first beer is on us! Even an Amstel Light…)
Postscript: The person who ordered the Amstel Light turned out to not be a member of the Bruins at all, but rather a socialite party girl who attended the event at the behest of Foxwoods’ publicists. She too took advantage of the opportunity to grab some free publicity…