Driving Awareness and Sales

Case Study: Press Releases Increase Awareness, Sales of Lakemaid Beer

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this month, Business Wire launched the first in a series of case studies showcasing how clients are utilizing press releases to increase awareness, message permeation and, ultimately, sales.

Earlier this year Business Wire had the pleasure of working with Pocket Hercules to promote Lakemaid Beer’s Frosty Winter Lager. And the results were astounding. In the following interview, we talk with Stephen Dupont, director of public relations and branded content at Pocket Hercules (www.pockethercules.com) to find out how one press release, one video and one image resulted in thousands of articles, new followers and sales.

Stephen, what was the ultimate goal of your Lakemaid Frosty Winter Lager program?

The goal of the project was to raise awareness, and ultimately sales, of Lakemaid Beer. At the time the news release was distributed, we wanted to spur sales of Lakemaid Frosty Winter Lager, our seasonal winter beer, in addition to generating awareness for the brand going into our summer sales season, when we sell our year-round brew, Lakemaid Fisherman’s Lager (the red label, as our fans know it by).

We targeted the period during the NFL Playoffs, leading up to the Super Bowl, which represents one of the top peaks in the sales of beer nationwide.

Tell us a little more about Lakemaid Beer.

Lakemaid Beer, introduced in 2008, is owned by the Lakemaid Beer Company, which is based in Minneapolis, Minn. The beer is the brainchild of our firm, Pocket Hercules. It’s one of three brands that we’ve created from scratch. Lakemaid Beer was created specifically for anglers and cabin owners who enjoy, and deserve, a truly great beer after a long day on the water. The beer is brewed by Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wis. While it is only sold in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois, over the past six years, Lakemaid Beer has built a nationwide following, some of whom have bought and driven Lakemaid hundreds of miles to points such as Maine, Connecticut, Texas, Arizona and beyond to share with their buddies.

What tools did you use to promote Frosty Winter Lager?

This story starts with the idea of Jack Supple, president of Lakemaid Beer Company, and the chief creative officer of Pocket Hercules, who observed ice fishermen on frozen lakes in the Twin Cities who don’t want to leave their ice shacks to buy beer when the fish are biting. Looking for a solution to solve their problem, and a way to help local liquor retailers increase their sales, Jack came across the idea of flying Lakemaid Beer out to the ice anglers with a small drone (octocopter).

After locating a drone that could perform a test, Jack and the crew at Pocket Hercules headed to a nearby lake, Lake Waconia, to film the first flight of a 12-pack of Lakemaid Beer to a nearby ice shack. The creative crew at Pocket Hercules edited the video to share with Lakemaid Beer fans through its website, Facebook page, and YouTube.

Having researched current rules and regulations involving the commercial use of drones, we decided to launch our story with a news release, the Lakemaid Beer video, and a high-resolution photograph of the beer drone, to news media nationwide. In the news release, Lakemaid Beer Company, cited the groundbreaking test deliveries via drone conducted recently by Amazon.com. We reasoned however, as noted in the news release, that testing the delivery of packages over snow covered frozen lakes was a lot safer than testing the delivery of packages in urban settings. In addition, we noted current FAA regulations regarding commercial applications of drones. We thought, “well, if Amazon can test it, why can’t we?” That’s where our path with the FAA would eventually cross.

What was Business Wire’s role in this program?

Before posting the news release on Business Wire, I sought the advice of Business Wire’s local Minneapolis office about the distribution of the editorial components to best optimize the distribution of the branded content to the news media.

Business Wire recommended a national distribution of the news release, which additional distribution to specialty retail, technology, and sports media. Links were embedded into the news release that allowed viewers to go directly to the 1:10 minute Lakemaid Beer video on YouTube. A high resolution still photo showing a close-up shot of the Lakemaid Beer drone also was included as part of the editorial package.

Image of Case Study: Driving Awareness and Sales of Lakemaid Beer with Business WireWhat were the results of your press release?

Within days of the news release’s distribution via Business Wire, a firestorm of activity was unleashed. Immediately, hundreds of online media carried the news release, video and photo, as a direct result of the Business Wire distribution. These stories mushroomed into a placement in the New York Daily News. And that story, unleashed even more editorial coverage leading up to the Super Bowl as the media began feeding on this story. We poured gas on the fire by feeding the story directly to national media outlets, too.

As the story continued to build momentum, we arranged live and taped interviews with Jack Supple, our Lakemaid Beer spokesperson, who spoke about the test flight and how the dedication of our company to Lakemaid Beer fans. Jack conducted over 60 phone and on-camera interviews with local and national media over a week-long period. When the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) observed the media coverage being generated by our video, they stepped in and warned Lakemaid Beer about conducting further beer drone delivery tests. Lakemaid Beer Company shared the FAA’s response as part of its interviews and referred national news outlets to a spokesperson at the FAA. This spurred even more interview requests.

This media relations strategy, asset creation and news distribution, generated more than $5 million worth of editorial coverage for Lakemaid Beer leading up to, and immediately following the Super Bowl. On the Friday before the Super Bowl, Lakemaid Beer was featured on NBC’s Today Show. In addition, on nearly every hour of programming on the FOX network featured a segment about the Lakemaid Beer drone. Other placements included ABC World News Tonight, CBS network news, CNN network news, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, USA Today, Inc., Mashable, Wired, Forbes, and thousands of other media outlets around the world.

I knew things were going crazy when one of my friends, an executive from a large online education company, texted me from the airport in San Diego and said, “I’m looking at three different TV screens here and the Lakemaid Beer drone is on all three!”

Six months later, this story continues to generate editorial coverage with a recent mention on Buzzfeed. In fact, if you want to see all of the coverage, just Google: Lakemaid Beer drone.

Stephen, what would you tell people about this project and using Business Wire?

For roughly the cost of the distribution, around $1,500, the Lakemaid Beer drone video on YouTube has received more than 621,000 views (as of July 7, 2014). Through Business Wire’s News Tracking Report, the press release received more than 18,000 views, and Twitter followers increased by 325%.

This project represented that perfect combination of factors that all came together at one time to create this incredible blizzard of positive media coverage. Business Wire played an instrumental role in helping Lakemaid Beer drive the sales of our beer, generate national awareness for our brand, and bring a smile to beer fans across the world. Ask just about any adult about that “Minnesota beer company that delivered beer to ice fishermen with drones,” and they’ve heard about it, or saw the story on the news.

About the Author: Over the last 20 years, Serena Ehrlich has worked closely with public and private companies providing guidance on investor and public relation trends. Serena has implemented local, national and international social media and marketing campaigns for a wide range of company and brands including Mogreet, LuxuryLink, Viking River Cruises, the unincorporated city of Marina del Rey, Kraft, Kohl’s, Avon, Mattel and more. Serena started her career in advertising where she developed an understanding of branding from a large-scale perspective, but it was her 14 years in the newswire industry that placed her squarely at the forefront of a technical, sociological and influential revolution changing the face of customer communications. In 1994, Serena was part of a small team who introduced the communications industry to the Internet via a series of first-ever conferences, Her love of technology based communications hasn’t stopped since. As the director of social and evolving media at Business Wire, Serena has a unique insight in the content lifestyle – from creation to consumption. In addition, Serena serves as the Corporate Secretary of the international Social Media Club board of directors, President of Social Media Club Los Angeles, as well as social chair for the National Investor Relations Institutes’ Los Angeles chapter and is a frequent speaker at analyst and business conferences alike on the topics of mobile, payments and social.. She can be found on Twitter (@serena)

On October 20th, 2014, posted in: General News by

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