Craft beer enthusiasts and marketing geeks alike can't get enough of Stone Brewing's "Leave No Stone Unturned" ad campaign. For the tea totalers out there, Escondido-based Stone Brewing is Southern California's largest brewery, and this is the brand's first ad campaign in it's 26 year history.
Rolled-out without mention earlier in the summer, beer fans everywhere noticed that Stone Brewing had somehow printed their labels upside down. As you may have already guessed, drinkers were feverishly posting about the crazy "mistake"...driving considerable digital (read "free") exposure. It wasn't until the billboards were unveiled and Stone's Co-Founder Greg fessed-up on Instagram that people realized it was planned from the beginning.
What's truly amazing about the campaign is the simplistic, almost pedestrian concept behind it. Any well-known brand could have intentionally printed their labels upside down and received a huge amount of social media buzz and free industry coverage (Adweek, Brewbound, to name a few) ...but they didn't. What? What do you mean someone already did this? Oh, that's right...Sierra Nevada did give their Southern Hemisphere can upside down print. It wasn't exactly a full-fledged campaign across the line, it completely lacked a digital angle...and let's not let facts get in the way of a heroic advertising story...geez.
From a marketing point-of-view...Stone's no-cost, high-impact campaign is absolutely brilliant. Luckily, their success can be replicated without the billboards, trendy spinoff agency (IPG's 'Big Family Table' in this case), or large budget. For example, a cannabrand fighting for shelf-space in a booming market with limited retail outlets may consider using something other than small plastic jar in a square box for packaging. A chocolate startup might rethink attending all the chocolate events and make friends in the coffee industry instead. In fact, who said their chocolate form needs to replicate the size and shape of a Hershey bar?
Whatever you make or market, your number one priority is making sure you're noticed. Get a six-pack with funny labels and let the brainstorming begin because there's likely a cost-free concept hiding right under your nose. If that doesn't work, shoot me a note and perhaps I can help.
Jason at Gigantic Ventures