It’s no secret that at Muse we love beer. In fact there is only one thing (that we can write about in this blog) that we love more than beer. And that’s brands that know what they stand for and how to behave.
That’s why we like Spitfire Ale.
Spitfire Ale is produced in Kent which is famous for three things – RAF Manston (home of the Spitfire), Turner Contemporary in Margate (home of the deckchair) and The Shepherd Neame Brewery (the home of beer). The clever chaps at Shepherd Neame decided long ago that it would be a good idea to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with their very own brew. Spitfire Ale is described as having a “Characteristically Kentish, hoppy flavour and risque advertising campaign has made it a firm favourite with beer lovers.” OK, we didn’t write that copy but let’s give them that one.
First things first. What do we mean by ‘brand’ ? We’ll spare you the essay but we believe that a brand is ‘the impression created by the sum of all the experiences of a product or service’.
So why Spitfire ? What we like about Spitfire is the way they have gone about managing all the experiences they create. Brand management 101. And they do it from top to bottom. From the big stuff to the detail. First the big stuff – Kent, English Channel, Battle of Britain, home of the Spitfire. It’s all there. “Duh !” “Gheddit !” We hear you say. But wait. Provenance is underrated. Consider this. The premium brand IWC watches also claim an association with the Spitfire. And we quote again, “2003 saw the introduction of a Pilot’s Watch series named after the legendary British aircraft, the Spitfire. In its day, the Spitfire was a masterpiece of technology and timeless elegance and became the model on which the eponymous IWC watch line was based.”
See what we mean ? Now far be it for us to disrespect what is a very good watch brand (and if anyone from IWC is reading this please don’t be dis-inclined to send us samples just because of a little constructive criticism) but the IWC/Spitfire association which essentially boils down to “we based it on a Spitfire when we made it in Switzerland” is some world away from the genuine ties that the brewery has with the same plane.
But it’s not just about capitalizing on geography. The advertising is also bang on the money. Armstrong and Miller dressed in full RAF regalia take what is a significant and for some emotive piece of recent British history and give it their trademark twist. Their archetypal of fighter-pilots present a slice of English heritage that manages to be both familiar and unorthodox through the surreality of their posh patois – “Jazzy G Carruthers ? He da man !”. Biggles re-born for the blogging generation.
The line “The bottle of Britain” effortlessly juxtaposes past and present.
But as we said it’s also the little stuff. The website invites you behind the scenes to see the ‘making-of’ the campaign (inviting you to ‘dive down’ to find out more) and visitors are encouraged to write their own headlines for the posters.
Even the smallest details of the packaging behave ‘on bottle’ with a top that sports the same bulls-eye that adorned the fuselage of the original aircraft.
So there we have it. A clear sense of what the brand stands for. Well executed from top to bottom.
Hats off to Spitfire Ale – we salute you.