Sunday, May 07, 2006

How I Came to Drink Coors Light

My passion for brands has been a long time in the making. I grew up in a national direct response advertising agency. We did not build brands. We got people to pick up the telephone.

I grew up in a house filled with Tide, Bounce, Coca-Cola, Bisquick, and Green Giant Niblets Corn & Butter Sauce. Most of all, however, I grew up in a Ford household. I never thought about why we purchased those things. I just came to love them.

You see, one day in the early 1950s, my dad was driving his Ford toward Dalhart, Texas. The powertrain was just out of warranty. The motor blew. Ford had no obligation to fix it. But they did. And they earned a long-time customer.

Almost four decades later, my first new vehicle was a Ford (an awesome 1989 Ranger XLT Supercab with 4WD). My second new vehicle was a Ford. Then college, graduate school, and children happened. Rest assured, my next new vehicle will be a Ford. As big an F150 as I can afford.

This is how you build a brand.

On the day I turned 21, I started working at Charlie Sullivan's Desert Sun liquor store in Las Cruces, N.M. You've got to pay your way through college somehow. There was a bar next door, and we would stop by sometimes after work.

We'd sit there and listen to the live music (country: which was a shock to me). Being neighbors, they'd sell us domestic bottles for $1. With my size, I calculated that I could drink four beers in an hour and be south of .08 blood alcohol content.

Growing up in Missouri, I was a loyal Budweiser guy. However, Jesse, my night manager, once had an unpleasant experience with the local Bud distributor. So he drank Coors Light. He never so much as suggested what I should drink, but I felt that it would be an insult to order a Bud Light. So Silver Bullet it was.

That was more than a decade ago, yet I just grabbed a cold Coors Light out of the fridge. The people who agreed to fix my dad's engine are now probably dead. The people who were unkind to Jesse are probably retired. Nonetheless, you'll see me driving my F150 to pick up a case of Coors Light in a few years.

Brands are about relationships, you see. And these relationships are woven throughout the fabric of our society. Many people lambaste advertising as something just short of full fledged prostitution. Maybe once I would have agreed. But these brands make our lives richer and brighter. If they didn't, we'd all be drinking Sam's Choice cola and grocery store green beans.

In his book, Lovemarks, Kevin Roberts talks about loyalty beyond reason. If there's a brand to which you are loyal beyond reason, I invite you to leave a comment here and tell us about it.


Blogger willow said...

I confess, I only read the first half of your blog. Not to offend; I have a short attention span. I'm working on that.

I just wanted to say that my most favorite car in my life...was a Ford Bronco II when I was in my 20's.

Ford was amazing with customer service..above and beyond at the time.

Now I drive a Saturn...for practical reasons. they have excellent customer service...but give the choice, I would still go to FORD. they made a lasting impression on me..that seemingly cannot be overcome.

7:32 PM  
Blogger H8TORADE said...

nothing beats the Silver Bullet! I don't care how watered down people say it is!

7:48 PM  

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