DKC works to promote Rheingold to a younger crowd

Dan Klores Communications is working to keep Rheingold in the minds of New Yorkers, especially younger ones.

Dan Klores Communications is working to keep Rheingold in the minds of New Yorkers, especially younger ones.

Rheingold is a low-cost beer often compared with Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Milwaukee. Rheingold had been out of business for nearly 25 years before relaunching in 1998. It was traditionally geared toward the blue-collar market but the company has shifted some of its focus away toward a younger, more urban audience, Dan Klores president Sean Cassidy said.

"They still want to appeal to that market, but they're branching it out to the 20s and 30s crowd, such as the Williamsburg crowd and the hipsters," Cassidy said, adding that the brewery is exploring opportunities of a partnership with Fuse, a music-television network and agency client.

Cassidy pointed to market research that said the blue-collar market is difficult to penetrate due to entrenchment and brand loyalty for Budweiser and Miller.

The Klores agency became agency of record for Rheingold in January, replacing LaForce & Stevens. Leslie Stevens, a partner at LaForce & Stevens, said her agency and Rheingold parted ways in a "mutual agreement." EVP Lois Najarian runs the account for the Klores agency and Cassidy is also involved.

"Dan Klores has an excellent reputation in New York," Rheingold president Tom Bendheim said, citing the firm's influence in the music community.

The company uses PR through its undiscovered musician program.

"We bring customers to venues using an e-mail blast and our website where we supply mp3s and write about [new bands]," Bendheim said.

The company doesn't require the band to market the product or wear any Rheingold apparel, Bendheim said, adding that this approach will ultimately benefit the brewery.

The brewer's PR-focus stems from a budgetary reality, Bendheim said, adding that the clientele the brewery is targeting is relatively immune to the bombardment of the advertising and marketing.

The agency will help Rheingold with its upcoming Miss Rheingold contest and Cassidy said the brewer is contemplating a Mr. Rheingold contest. It also plans to do more promotion in bars.

LaForce & Stevens helped garner press attention for the return of the Miss Rheingold pageant last year, after a thirty-year absence.

The brewer has received a lot of buzz around its recent ads, created by Powell, that challenge some of the antismoking and cabaret laws enacted by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Cassidy said that campaign stemmed from feedback from Rheingold's bar-owning customers.

Klores used the ads to stir up some awareness and hopes to continue the chatter about the product, Cassidy said.

"Since the ad campaign, Rheingold has sustained a 100% increase in its beer sales," Cassidy said.

Bloomberg responded to the ads by chastising the company for moving its brewery out of Brooklyn long ago. Last week, Rheingold announced that it would return to brewing some of its beer in the borough, which attracted coverage in newspapers like The New York Times, New York Daily News, Metro, and others.

Cassidy insisted that the move was in the works long before Bloomberg's criticisms.

"As far as the going back and forth, both the mayor and Rheingold have moved onto other things," he said, adding that Rheingold would love to count the mayor as one of its consumers.

"We have a couple things planned for later in the year when the first beer [from Brooklyn] comes off the product line," Cassidy added.

Bendheim said that the first beer would most likely roll out around July 4.

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