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Thread: MM Proof Change

  1. #371
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    And again I agree. What they failed to fully see is the emotional connection people have to the brand. (I also think if they had reduced the price in proportion, the result might have been different).

    In fact, if JD had made the change from 86 to 80 today, it might have been the same for them. I think they got in under the wire on this, at a time when Facebook and Twitter feedback (in particular) was much less developed.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-19-2013 at 08:34.

  2. #372
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    Loyalty is a coin when spent may not be re-earned. The owner of my local commented yesterday his Maker's customers were quite upset over the proof change.

  3. #373
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    C'mon Cliff, or Gary, give us a blind tasting!

    Can you tell which is which, and which did you prefer?

    Gary

    I would Gary, but out of all the bottles of bourbon I have, not one of them is a 90 proof MM (and I don't plan on adding one)
    "Bottom line: sometimes things work out this way in life. It doesn't matter how well you've planned; you're just f**ked, and that's that" - The Boss

  4. #374
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    I know there are those who don't care about "all the drama" we even have a thread dedicated to why, but those people should note that perhaps this will serve as a cautionary tale to other distillers.

    As Gary sort of roundabout said when he mentioned that perhaps Brown-Forman's decision to drop the proof of Jack, yet again, may have met with more consumer resistance today than it did some years back before social media had matured.

  5. #375
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    One famous pre-social media precedent where the producer reversed course is Coke after it introduced New Coke. But you can argue that was different since Coke is such a world-famous brand and has been for so long, so the feedback did affect the company's course even though it was before the era of great ease to reach a producer. With JD, one can only speculate since its change occurred long before social media matured as you said. Jack might be a different case because it enjoys great brand loyalty and devotion, but in a way where the consumers seem to cut the company a lot of slack. An example may be the swift sales (or so I have heard) of the new rye, a white spirit selling for good coin yet people still want the product. So perhaps if JD was still 86 proof and the company had moved to 80 today, the result would be different for them. Still, the overall lesson from the MM situation is that producers do need to keep their ear to the ground viz consumer reaction, certainly for venerable brands which enjoy a good degree of visibility and loyalty.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-20-2013 at 05:19.

  6. #376
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    One famous pre-social media precedent where the producer reversed course is Coke after it introduced New Coke. But you can argue that was different since Coke is such a world-famous brand and has been for so long, so the feedback did affect the company's course even though it was before the era of great ease to reach a producer. With JD, one can only speculate since its change occurred long before social media matured as you said. Jack might be a different case because it enjoys great brand loyalty and devotion, but in a way where the consumers seem to cut the company a lot of slack. An example may be the swift sales (or so I have heard) of the new rye, a white spirit selling for good coin yet people still want the product. So perhaps if JD was still 86 proof and the company had moved to 80 today, the result would be different for them. Still, the overall lesson from the MM situation is that producers do need to keep their ear to the ground viz consumer reaction, certainly for venerable brands which enjoy a good degree of visibility and loyalty.

    Gary
    There is no doubt that the current information age in all of its manifestations was crucial. But it was the front page of the Wall Street Journal, back in 1980, that was the MM catapult and there is some class effect, even if small, that remains and is part of this.
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  7. #377
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    The thing that sticks out to me on the whole thing, is how the first inkling most of us had was Dale's post on February 8. Of course Dale and probably others know before, but the change was kept under wraps remarkably well. Obviously, they decided on the change, had labels made, were dumping and proofing the whiskey, and bottling, and nothing leaked? I wonder if the average MM worker was even aware? Heck, bottles were showing up at retailers when the news hit the major wires. Speaking of the new digital/social media age, that's a lot of motion without anybody hearing about it. Then everything else, as documented here, happened with lightening speed.
    JOE

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  8. #378
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    If it happens in the Bourbon world it's quickly reported here.

  9. #379
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    Thad, do you mean that MM has always had a certain (upper echelon) image and that the change would more likely get picked up in the mainstream and business press than for other products? This makes sense to me, that the company would be more likely to react when the issue became noticed in the mainstream media. Probably it was a bit of both.

    I think Jack Daniels also got a big push, in the early 50's with a major story in the press or a national magazine. Of course that was a long time ago.

    By the way I was reading an interview with a brewer from AB-InBev (formerly Anheuser Busch) a propos the company's release of Black Crown, a craft-oriented brand that resulted from a group of beers brewed by different AB brewers trying to come up with something different, I think the project was called Project 12 (12 beers of which one would be chosen for a new launch). He said when talking to consumers at sessions where the beers were being tasted and commented on, tested in effect, he was surprised how much they knew about beer and the questions they asked. I believe distillers have said similar things after attending festivals and the like. Of course, in the craft beer world, this is old hat, but he was perceiving, from the vantage point of a huge brewer, how the public is far more informed than it used to be and is interested to provide its input. This is part of what MM ran into IMO, these are not decisions that are exempt from consumer notice and comment as in decades past - barring again extraordinary cases likes that of Coca-Cola.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-20-2013 at 11:12.

  10. #380
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    Re: MM Proof Change

    I believe the JD story appeared in Esquire magazine in 1954, coincidentally about the time Brown-Forman bought them out.
    Last edited by squire; 02-20-2013 at 11:38.

 

 

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