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Rembrandt Drank Grolsch?

Under-serving Brands ‘Since _____’

Sipping a pint of Grolsh the other day I noticed the custom glassware read “since 1615.” I was pretty struck by the year. I had absolutely no idea this beer’s been brewing almost 400 years. In a category where authenticity is king, I wondered how I wasn’t aware of this?

What I think it comes down to is the hugely over-used “since [year] statement”. It’s such a stock phrase that most people don’t notice it anymore. As marketers I know we love looking forward, but I think we have to remember all the untapped value in looking back once in a while. Brands that have been around can unlock a wide range of emotion in the past regardless of whether people actually had a relationship with their product.

Take the exceptional Grolsh example: this Dutch beer is nearly 400 years old. As a ‘since statement’ – if you happened to notice it – you might say ‘hey, that’s really old.’ But if you give it some more thought and actually place the period, you’d realize:

‘Whoa, that’s really old. Like Rembrandt could have drank it.’


Obviously not all companies can claim 400 years of history, but even those with relatively little background have existed through some trend, noteworthy event, or memorable moment in the past that aligns with their brand story.

Canadian Club offered up a great example of this brand reminiscence last year – leveraging its place in your father’s heyday with a breakthrough campaign that said Damn Right Your Dad Drank It. Bottoms Up.

3 comments on “Rembrandt Drank Grolsch?

  1. Pumra
    January 27, 2009

    i guess Stella Artois has been running a similar campaign for a while with their movie theater ads – although the theme of the beer’s pseudo-pricelessness always turned me off.

    especially in these calamitous economic times, i think companies should go the other way. instead stressing the valuelessness of their product.

    position the product in a context where money, prestige and luxury do not exist. which rubs off on the product itself, so people don’t even think of it as a expenditure, more as a spartan sacrifice.

    imaginary eg. TruckStop Beer: Who cares who’s looking: http://40ouncebeer.com/extrapicts/generic.jpg

    • sean hazell
      January 27, 2009

      Thanks Pumra. I had forgotten about Stella’s ‘welcome to 1366‘ campaign. It’s more fantastical, than grounded in the real — but definitely looks back and tells an interesting story.

  2. Pingback: Human Character in Advertising « her Nature his Nurture

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2009 by in His Nurture Posts and tagged , , , .

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