The Ad Club CMO Breakfast With Patron Spirits
Tuesday morning, The Ad Club hosted John McDonnell, COO Patrón Spirits at the monthly CMO Breakfast Series, at the Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center. As a social media guy, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the idea of this CMO Breakfast (they don’t have a Twitter handle or Facebook page). But I would be proven wrong over the course of the hour presentation John gave.
Now I’m a sucker for cheap humor, and John hit the perfect note with his opening remarks. “How many of you have had a bad tequila experience?” John asked the crowd. Awkward half hand hands went up across the room, as we quickly realized 90% of the room had spent at least one night getting acquainted with the bathroom floor, hugging the toilet to keep from falling off the earth.
OK, well played John, you’ve got our attention; now onto the brand. First shocker; Patrón was started by this guy. That’s right, John Paul Dejoria, founder of Paul Mitchell. Who knew? OK most of you probably did, but not being a tequila drinker I didn’t. What’s more shocking is that Patrón, this globally recognized luxury brand, was founded just 23 years ago (same as me!) in 1989. Now I’m completely captivated John, tell me how in just 23 years, Patrón has taken a spirit associated with words such as “cheap” “harsh” and “foul” into the 18th best selling retail spirits brand worldwide.
How do you manage such an amazing turn around? They literally took a product considered to be an inferior good, and made it a globally recognized luxury brand, and status symbol. Short answer: “Perfection” in product and promotion. Each and very bottle of Patrón Tequila is touched by no less than 60 hands from start to finish. From harvesting, to distilling, to hand blowing the glass for each bottle! Every small batch (and don’t you dare tell John Patrón is mass produced, it’s NOT!) is tasted by the master distiller!
As John explains it, Patrón is an affordable luxury. You may not have that $100,000 BMW, or the house on the Cape, but when you order Patrón, you can feel like you do. Put it this way, you see a pretty girl in a bar and want to impress her, do you walk up to the bartender and say “Bartender! I’ll have the cheapest shit you’ve got!” or do you proudly order Patrón? You are what you drink!
Well now I’m impressed, but again, I’m a social media guy. What have you got cooking in that department John? No Facebook, no Twitter; clearly you have no idea what your doing…right? Wrong. Just when you think Patrón Spirits is a cold luxury brand isolated from its consumers, John throws the Ultimat Vodka Social Life Audit at us.
This application, which requires a Facebook Login (brilliant!), takes your social check-ins into account and spits out a Pass/Fail grade on your work-life balance. So they DO get social. They’re interacting, they’re providing real content, and they’re getting your all-important information! Remember, marketers prefer to use Facebook for awareness, not just likes and fans.
After the breakfast, Ad Club President Kathy Kiely sat down with John on the Big Orange Couch and asked him about some of the ongoing experiential campaigns Patrón is doing, including the NYC “Window Washer”. That video will be coming in a week or so in our next post, keep an eye out for it.
For those of you who were at The CMO Breakfast, what was your favorite part? Connect with us on Twitter or comment below and let us know!