Brewdog — Strategic Stunt or Caring Company?

By Board Member Georgia Eather

(Twitter @gmay_)


Brewdog’s CEO and Co-Founder James Watt recently posted some open letters to Nicola Sturgeon and Matt Hancock on LinkedIn and Twitter. He has offered Brewdog venues to support the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, describing the venues as ideal settings with refrigerators, rooms and teams to assist if needed.

Screenshot of James Watt's post on LinkedIn

James Watts’ open letter on LinkedIn

The public response has been mixed from his followers, some comments have ranged from “brilliant initiative” and “lovely gesture” to “big PR stunt” and a ploy to ensure Brewdog is operational before competitors with vaccinated staff.

Whatever the motivation, this seems consistent with Brewdog’s ‘punk reputation’ of thinking outside the box with creative strategies that may seem forward thinking to old-school competitors. Previous examples include moving quickly to manufacture and donate hand sanitiser at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, becoming the world’s first carbon negative beer business and planting the Brewdog Forest in the Scottish Highlands. And they move fast. This, and more, has all happened in the past 12 months.

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Forbes article detailing Brewdog’s carbon negative status

Whether the open letters are a PR campaign or if Brewdog intend to follow through on their promise, we may not know right now. But one thing is clear, the power of PR and communications is real. With this extension of goodwill and offer to support a national health scheme, it’s clear where Brewdog’s priorities lie. Brewdog cares about people.

Brewdog is not alone in this. Ben and Jerry’s is a vocal supporter of LGBTQI+ rights. Fenty Beauty is a leader in the beauty market through their inclusive and diverse shades of make-up, prompting other brands to follow suit. Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign championed gender equality and women empowerment.

The idea of a PR ‘stunt’ is not new, but perhaps with good intentions, brands can follow the example set by Brewdog and others. I believe in the power of brands doing good. Maybe the world can be a better place if stories are told and change is made. There is much more at stake than reputations.

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