Our long national nightmare is over. Just days after announcing a plan to water down their iconic whiskey, Maker’s Mark reversed itself, and announced they’ll keep making their bourbon at the 45% level that we’ve all come to know and love and you don’t know me AT ALL MAN, JUST GET OUTTA HERE nsdifasdf;sfd
(Sorry. We’ve been celebrating with several mugs of “Kentucky coffee,” a cocktail we invented here at Despair, Inc. Basically, you make a cup of coffee, throw it away, and drink bourbon straight from the bottle, while listening to classic bluegrass music and crying.)
Maker’s Mark’s decision to dilute their whiskey might have been the most ill-considered bit of beverage marketing since this, but as The Washington Post points out, it was born of necessity:
They didn’t properly foresee the booming worldwide demand for the supple, nectar-like perfection of Maker’s. Sales of the bourbon rose 14 percent in 2011 and 15 percent in 2012. … That is normally a problem — too much demand for a product — that a company loves to have. The simple answer to that problem would be to raise prices to whatever level will make the market clear. Maker’s didn’t do that, and the result was predictable: Shortages of the bourbon in some markets.
First of all: “supple, nectar-like perfection”? Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Get a room, Washington Post and Maker’s Mark! (Seriously, get a room, and fill it with bourbon. The Pessimist‘s office has an entire room dedicated to whiskey, and it’s increased morale around here something fierce. I mean, it’s decreased productivity, but business is a series of trade-offs.)
It’s beginning to look like the only way Maker’s can prevent the shortages that have occurred is to decrease demand, which no business, for obvious reasons, wants to do. Here at Despair, we’re kind of experts on decreasing demand — we once went a whole month without sales just by having our website auto-play “Fast Food Song” whenever someone visited it — so we put together a few suggestions for our marketing counterparts at Maker’s Mark. Here, friends, is how you decrease demand:
- Make use of celebrity endorsements. “There’s nothing better than a glass of Maker’s Mark after a long day’s work. Isn’t that right, hated R&B singer Chris Brown?” “That’s right, ailing-but-still-widely-despised Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez! It goes down smooth!”
- Insult your customers. We’re kind of experts at this, actually. It’s as simple as coming up with a new motto. Maybe something like “Throw some Maker’s Mark down your gullet, you mouth-breathing redneck!” or “Maker’s Mark: because your unemployed ass can’t afford Bulleit.” There’s really a lot of ways you can go here.
- Create public outrage by marketing to kids. Now that the gentleman’s agreement that effectively banned liquor ads on TV is over, a commercial would be a great way to do this. Book time on Nickelodeon. Get the rights to a Justin Bieber song. “Let’s see, we got soda, OJ, purple stuff, Sunny D … oh, and Maker’s Mark! Yeah! … Mommy, I don’t feel so good…”
- Use your entire advertising budget on commercials during soccer games. Nobody in America will ever see them.
- A simple name change can go a long way. “Born in the mountain streams of Kentucky. Every bottle dipped in our signature red wax by hand. Isn’t it about time you treated yourself to a glass of Clown Pus?”