Lebron Decision Roasted & Toasted By Cleveland Beer

Cleveland’s own local beer producer, Great Lakes Brewing Company, mocked former local hero LeBron James just hours after his ‘decision’ to quit local team Cleveland Cavaliers for the money and glamour of life with the Miami Heat by releasing a new limited edition beer brand called “Quitness”.


“Quitness” was promoted on the night as a ‘dry hopped India pale ale that leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth’ – the sensation felt by many Cavs fans after their star player and local boy made good abandoned them.


In a PR-led move that involved neither an official sponsorship or a brand ambassador deal, this move was a clever guerilla way of leveraging local anti-star sentiment.


For non basketball fans, local star James was the NBA’s most valuable player in 2008/9 and 2009/10, but when his contract was up he was offered no end of big money deals from bigger franchises. The local brewer offered James free beer for the rest of his life if he stayed with the team to try and tempt him away from the huge money offers from heavyweight teams such as the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls


But when LeBron took the reported $110m offer from Miami Heat leaving Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to describe the departure as a ‘selfish’, ‘heartless’, ‘callous, and ‘cowardly betrayal’.


With disillusioned Cleveland fans thirsting for some form of revenge, Great Lakes provided just such an outlet. The company said all 30 gallons of “Quitness” sold out in just three hours on tthe Wednesday evening after LeBron’s announcement.


“Connecting to our city, our fans and our community has made Great Lakes Brewing Company what it is today,” says brewery’s co-owner Patrick Conway. “Rest assured Cleveland – GLBC isn’t going anywhere and we will continue to win world [beer] championships.”


This isn’t the first locally-focused sports-related brew from the brand. Recent months have seen it release Stein Bach (named after Cleveland Browns offensive lineman), as well as Cleveland Brown Ale and Wait Till Next Year.




Being flexible and quick to respond to the emotions of your target market is a sign of great marketing – particularly in ambush marketing. And Great Lake’s certainly connected to its city and its consumers with this low latency response to a bad news story for its home town basketball team.





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