Wednesday, May 06, 2015
In pandering to anti-commercial sentiment, a German company
inadvertently shows us why advertising, as wearying as it can be, is
actually a good thing. A page on the
company's web site explains the white, information-deficient,
label on its line of beer (It says merely, "Bier 0.331".) as
The goal of this project is to take a stand against the visual pollution to which people in urban environments are constantly subjected. Today our cities are overflowing with advertising messages. Since most mass produced products only slightly vary in terms of content, artificial brand images have been constructed in order to make products appear unique.This "solution" is wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. For one thing, in light of the fact that there are many very different styles of beer out there, why just "Bier"? (And how does this company's claim to let "taste" stand on its own square with its apparent tin ear for beer aficionados? If I want an IPA, a lager or a stout or a lambic simply won't do.) Conversely, why give the beer and the wine spritzer different labels at all? Why not, just "Getränk" (drink)? And how will this company's products stand out if others join their crusade against information "overload"? Yes, the web site is probably talking about the Budweisers and Millers out there, but, since I can read, even those labels also help me. In much the same way that the three leaves of a poison ivy plant do, the labels of brands I regard as swill help me stay away.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get through to the information-overloaded consumers of today. And how does the marketing world respond to this problem? By pumping consumers full of even more advertising!
Our approach: forget all the glitz, gold-rimmed promises and concentrate on that which matters most -- the product itself! It is for this reason that our products have neither a name nor a logo. The layout is as basic as possible. Our products promise nothing more than the delivery of their contents: BIER (beer) and WEINSCHORLE (wine spritzer). Because taste doesn't need a name.
Let me be the first to hail this so-called overload, in light of how difficult and pointless a wall of white labels would make my weekly pilgrimage to the local beer emporium. That said, I find the white, sparse label to be ironically distinct, owing to the very phenomenon its proprietor decries.
As a lover of beer who has nevertheless had my own moments of irritation with advertisements, let me step back for a moment and thank the ad men. They really do make life more enjoyable.