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Street Marketing: PBR

Question: How can you convince a too-cool-for-school, fixie riding, Ray-ban wearing, tattooed hipster to be a brand ambassador for your product? Answer: Use non-traditional tactics to induce a feeling of ''lifestyle as dissent'' or ''consumption as protest''. Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer that originally belonged to middle-aged men in dark Milwaukee bars, is now being framed as the underground sweetheart of beer; not by PBR itself, but by these so-called anti-consumers. In an effort to expand its small, yet steady market share, PBR is tip-toeing right by these scensters and putting marketing efforts in their hands. This is the idea behind the annual PBR Art Contest, where faithful drinkers submit a piece of art that is “constructed of, inspired by or captures the essence of the Pabst brand/logo” in hopes of winning a cash prize and free beer. Another guerrilla tactic used by the “virtual brewery” (PBR no longer actually brews its own beer, Miller does) is subtle sponsorship of small-scale indie-rock music scenes, bike polo competitions and beer-stacking contests. Will you be seeing huge fliers, business representatives and cheesy print ads at these events? No. But you will find plenty of free beer.

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