Putting the ‘Wicked’ Back in Pete’s

PGC to Return Gambrinus Beer to Brash Persona in Ads, Promos
NEW YORK–Readying its first push behind the Pete’s label it picked up six months ago, Gambrinus will tilt the marketing strategy back to the fun, mischievous positioning it enjoyed in its “wicked” days, reversing the lurch to sobriety undertaken just prior to the beer brand’s sale.
In product promotions and radio, print and outdoor ads currently in development at agency PGC Advertising in Dallas, the No. 2 craft beer will try to recover the rakish bent it enjoyed before “wicked” was demoted from brand essence to merely a designator on a single flavor.
“Clearly, Pete’s Wicked Ale is the No. 1 priority for our company,” said Greg Warwick, brand director at the San Antonio marketer of Corona, Shiner and Moosehead. “From a standpoint of equity, ‘wicked’ is where we need to be.”
Gambrinus also utilizes PGC for advertising its Moosehead Beer.
The Richards Group in Dallas handles assignments for Gambrinus’ Corona markets.
The first promotion, due in March via The Promotions Network in Dallas, urges consumers, “Let’s get wicked,” via images of a tattoo of a Marilyn Monroe look-alike and tie-ins to swing music and other retro chic. A sweepstakes will offer trips to Southern California to ride in a 1940s plane and attend a ’40s-style party at a local hot spot. As the marketing strategy falls into place, other promos may take a different tack but will maintain the raffish tone.
Ads, primarily radio, had been expected in March, but have been pushed back to May. That has made some wholesalers restive, but Warwick said Gambrinus would stick with its deliberate approach.
Prior to the sale, Pete’s Brewing had ousted Pete’s Wicked Ale from its position as core brand in favor of a newly created lager, Pete’s ESP (for “extra smooth pub”), and generally downplayed “wicked” as inconsistent with a quality image.
Although ESP was developed on the assumption that lagers have broader appeal than ales, Warwick said his experience on Shiner bock proved that dark beers like Pete’s Wicked Ale can develop a following. Company founder Pete Slosberg, on board for at least two more years, will help by visiting nearly 60 markets as brand ambassador.