Dear CMO:

We don’t often talk about beer over here, do we? But while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the world famous Boston Beer Company’s new Sam Adams commercial, where President Jim Koch drops this wonderful bomb:

“Sam Adams is… not a beginner’s beer.”

Why is this such a wonderful thing to say? Oh, let me count the ways!

1. You don’t like Sam Adams? You’re a beginner! That’s why! Grow up! And when you do, you might start to appreciate our beer. In the mean time, sip your Bud and leave the floor to your betters.

2. You can’t start with Sam Adams. You graduate to Sam Adams. You aspire to Sam Adams. You earn your way to being a Sam Adams drinker. You punk.

3. We have judged you. You are playing by our rules now. You are standing on the thin ice of our choosing.

Remember the discussion we had about Killing Giants? Thin Ice works. Making your competition play by your rules — making them come out onto the thin ice of your choosing — is a not just a winning strategy. It’s a killing strategy.

Do you compete against an iconic brand? Don’t fight it. Make it fight you in a place and at a time of your choosing.

That’s how you kill giants.


Copyright (c) 2007 Stephen Denny