Who hasn't had a discussion about the beer man while attending a baseball game? Over the past century, beer men roaming the stands at ball games have become as engrained in the sport's culture as the seventh inning stretch.
But what is it about the beer man that captures the attention and interest of fans in the ballpark? Why haven't alcoholic beverage sponsors worked harder to leverage one of the most visible assets in the park? What other opportunities/best practices exist with the ballpark beer man?
To help address some of these questions, I have enclosed a collection of Beer Man photos in the Activation Gallery. After doing some preliminary research on the Internet, I came upon some interesting findings:
- Wally the Beer Man is a local legend in the Minneapolis-St. Paul vicinity; famous you might say. Wally has his own baseball cards and has been a focal point of national media coverage on multiple occasions...Wally has been selling beer at almost every beer-friendly sporting event in the Twin Cities since 1970.
- Japanese beer men strap a keg onto their backs (with a portable cup dispenser) to serve fans at local baseball games. I have yet to see this innovative strategy reach be implemented in the United States - a best practice if fans do not prefer a variety of beers! I would't be suprised to see some alcoholic beverage sponsors seeking exclusivity conduct a similar practice
- The Japanese also offer "beer women" that roam the stands and serve beers to fans in attendance... Even these women carry a keg on their back to serve fans!
- Each beer man has his own style:
- Unique apparel messaging (Free Beer!, Drink Beer!, etc.)
- Props (hats, glasses, pins, whistles, socks, etc.)
- Unique beer calls / dances / beer pouring skills
- A collection of different ways to carry/distribute beer (boxes, trays, racks, kegs, etc.)
- Unusual hair/facial hair styles
Why hasn't a company like Miller or Budweiser put together an innovative viral marketing campaign around the beer man that shows some raw footage/beer calls? It would be an INSTANT HIT.
Here are some of the beer man videos circulating the web...