More Water in the Watering Hole Please
It’s been a sad few days for any bourbon aficionado. Ever since Maker’s Mark announced the watering down of their trademark red-wax whisky, fans have not shied away from expressing their anger, and media outlets have not stopped criticizing.
Initially, Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels made the announcement via email to all brand ambassadors. Due to product shortages from high demand, the new plan was to water down their famous whisky without having to increase the price. This would change the alcohol content from 90 proof to 84 proof. As more light was shed on this matter, loyal customers started accusing Rob Samuels of running the brand into the ground ever since he took over his father’s COO legacy, Bill Samuels Jr.
However, it came as a shock when Bill Samuels Jr. released a statement letter supporting his son’s decision. The letter stated that Bill Jr. and his son spent countless nights taste testing batches, and assured us that the new batch will taste exactly the same. In addition, Bill took responsibility for the company’s failure to foresee the shortages.
Good PR is often hard to come by. In this instance, Maker’s Mark exemplified quick and good PR strategies in order to combat the world’s reaction. Immediately after the initial announcement, the brand made sure to incorporate exclusive interviews to explain their reason behind everything. They admitted their failures, and stood by their decision. Instead of jumping in defense against fans and media backlash, Maker’s Mark accepted the feedback and thanked the world for expressing its honesty.
Social media efforts are also important in good PR. When the news first broke, people were voicing their opinions all over Maker’s Mark’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Instead of bantering back and forth via social media, the brand made a smart move by not posting anything on Facebook, and only sending out two tweets linking to more information; an exclusive interview with Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels Jr.’s statement letter. From a Public Relations standpoint, it showed great self-control.
Maker’s Mark presented a strong united front. The company knew right from the start that media attention would be brutal. Instead of giving excuses, the brand went into the battle with confidence and strength, displaying good public relations strategies.
Can you think of any other examples of good PR?