[For some reason this post has ended up like a Dave Trott story.]
[I think it's because I'm reading his excellent book as bedtime reading at the moment.]
Lovely idea here:
I think it's the work of Anomaly, with the help of a few others.
I'm not a fan of Budweiser as a product – as are lots of us beer geeks.
As a business too I'm not a huge fan.
(Its relentless pursuit of Budvar being just one reason.)
But this work is great.
Because it talks about provenance.
Because it introduces the brewing process to people who usually aren’t bothered.
Because it makes the product appealing.
Because it gives me an ‘in’ to a huge megabrand.
(Although I'd love a mobile app I could use if I'm in a pub.)
(An app that gives me social currency to discuss there and then with my friends.
I think all brands and products should be doing this.
Being more transparent.
Letting people know where, how and why their products have been manufactured.
Giving them insights into the care they take.
The difference they make.
The people behind the huge corporations.
I mentioned this to a chap when I was studying my MA.
Dr. Charlie Clutterbuck.
He's not a marketing chap, he works in the environmental and ethical sectors.
He was a very nice chap and we chatted about brand and business ethics over a beer in Manchester.
I said I’d love to use the barcode scanners in supermarkets, to scan a product and get the history of it.
The human history of it.
Who packed it, where in the world it was packed, direct contact with the farmers.
So I could ask them how well they were being treated.
He said a big supermarket chain were looking into it.
That was seven years ago.
It is possible.
But it’s not happened yet.
Because some brands want to hide that contact.
Want to hide that story.
They don’t see the worth in opening it up.
If brands want to hide their stuff behind closed doors they’ve usually got something to hide.
If brands go public and open those doors it’s a start.
Even if they’re not perfect they’re staring a discussion.
Not covering stuff up.
(Although I’m sure they’ll be selective about what they share at least it's a start.)
This reminds me of the Second Interest Layer I discussed over here.
About how the story behind a product is as interesting as the product itself.
Like with a bottle of mass-produced beer.
Of how it can imbue and increase the sense of worth of a ubiquitous thing.
This can work for lots of brands in lots of sectors.
We're already starting to see farmer's names on fruit and vegetables in supermarkets now.
(But I'd love to be able to email them, tweet them thanks for their delicious produce.)
Also, I once worked on a pitch for a big prestigious car brand.
One idea we had was to RFID the whole factory up.
When they've ordered their car, send them a DM piece with a unique URL.
Let people who have ordered a car see their very car being made.
See the care and attention that's going into it.
See where their money was going.
In the product they're given, but also in the craftsmanship they've bought into.
I still think that's a nice idea.
(But only for some brands and products.)
I also remember giving a presentation to a delegation of Nike Considered marketing people.
We said it's all well and good having one range of things on a business level that is better, and more transparent.
But we said they should instigate a 'one thing' rule on a product level instead.
Where they don't have a small percentage of their business that is better, more transparent.
But that they should have 'one thing' on every single product that is better, more transparent.
Maybe the laces on a pair of sneakers, or the lining on a jacket.
Maybe those one things could be recycled, traceable, transparent.
That way you're doing a little bit of good in every single thing.
Some brands will never open up.
And I think it’ll come back to bite them in the bum.
Because we live in a time of accountability.
Of legacy data.
Of things in the past being ultra-traceable.
Of digital things being ultra-traceable.
(Just ask Jeremy Hunt.)
In fact, how long until the Thought Police come knocking on some doors?
The brands that embrace transparency first will do well.
But the brands that do it best will do better.