BrewDog is sending thousands of vinyl ‘I am Punk’ posters to hundreds people across the UK and asking them to fly post in what it believes will be the biggest guerrilla marketing stunt the country has seen.
The posters being sent to its 'Equity Punks' (people who have invested in the company) are based on the creative used in the social media campaign of the same name. Launched last month by its newly appointed creative agency Studio of Art and Commerce, it profiled some of its 50,000 investors after taking their pictures during the company's annual AGM (Annual General Mayhem) festival.
But this call to arms is arguably BrewDog’s most daring marketing push to date. The self-described anti-advertising brewer has proudly taken a “don’t give a shit” attitude, with founders James Watt and Martin Dickie vehemently eschewing traditional above-the-line in favour of content, events and PR stunts to get the name out there.
Among its more infamous efforts was the chartering of a helicopter to fly across London and drop taxidermy cats from the air to “herald the extinction of the City fat cat” after it raised £25m in crowdfunding.
But, this 'I Am Punk' experiment treads a thin line given that fly posting is illegal under certain circumstances, with the Environmental Law website stating that many local councils have a 'zero tolerance' policy. Those caught in England and Wales can face on-the-spot fines of up to £80 or prosecution while in Scotland – where BrewDog was founded – the penalty can be much heftier.
Seemingly aware of this, within the package of posters is a note to people which makes an ambiguous suggestion of what they do with them.
“...Along with this letter, you will find a selection of vinyls featuring your fellow Equity Punks," it reads. "These vinyl posters are yours to do with what you dare. Share them with the world. Give everyone a glimpse of what PUNK means to you."
Regardless of how many people go out and plaster BrewDog posters on walls, it certainly makes a statement on how it wants to be seen after selling a 22% stake in the company to a US investor. That decision pushed it to be crowned the UK's fastest-growing food and drinks company with a £1bn valuation but also led many to suggest that it had sold out and would inevitably pull back from the controversial stunts that had built the brand.
Heide Cohu, founder of the agency behind the campaign, said the “social movement” that it launched online aimed to make more people aware of the product but this is about putting the continued success of the brand back in the hands of people who own a piece of it.
“[The 'I Am Punk' social campaign] went so well that it felt like a natural evolution to put the power back in the hands of the people who own and love the product. A beer for the people, by the people, bringing the brand to like in culture on a national level,” she said.
It will be activated across London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.