Pabst Blue Ribbon Is Paying BBH 12,000 Cans of Beer for a New Campaign

Raise many glasses of the brand's Stronger Seltzer

In recent years, compensation deals have gotten rougher for agencies, with some clients waiting 90 or even 120 days before paying their shops for services rendered.

BBH New York found a novel way to circumvent such issues by taking no money whatsoever to introduce Pabst Blue Ribbon's Stronger Seltzer (with 8 percent alcohol!). Instead, the agency agreed to work for a year's supply of beer.

That's 12,000 cans, delivered in quarterly increments. Or 2,000 six-packs. 

"We really wanted to work with them [and] wanted to prove ourselves and just thought it would be a fun perk for the agency," BBH business director Alex Monger tells AdAge. "So we calculated how many beers could possibly be drunk in the office, over our happy hours and parties and whatever else, and suggested that number to them, and they were very happy to do that."

The staff would just spend their paychecks on beers anyway, so this simplifies the process, right? (Kidding, of course. Probably.) 

In return for those suds, BBH crafted a campaign called "Stronger Than You Think," with cute animations stressing the seltzer's potency (some 25-50 percent more alcohol than its leading competitors): 

Pabst Blue Ribbon Stronger Seltzer | Strut
Pabst Blue Ribbon Stronger Seltzer | Mustache
Pabst Blue Ribbon Stronger Seltzer | Tattoo

"The goal was to design a distinctive and flexible look and feel that carries over the quirky, handcrafted qualities of the playful fan-art Pabst has always embraced," explains BBH designer/illustrator Rachel Hess. 

Adds Monger: "The target audience is those who are interested in the seltzer category, but don't resonate with the existing brands in this space. They're creative, entrepreneurial and purpose-driven. So while many of the competitors show happy, smiley people drinking the product on a beach, we wanted to be more authentic to the Pabst brand, its heritage and its aesthetic." 

BBH hosted a launch activation at the Los Globos nightclub in Los Angeles on Tuesday. In partnership with The Moth, a nonprofit group that hosts storytelling events, podcasts and an NPR radio show, Pabst presented monologues exploring various aspects of strength: 

Does getting paid in brews devalue BBH's work, even by a few drops? Does it make "Stronger Than You Think" weaker somehow?

Naturally, Monger doesn't think so.

"I am not saying getting paid in beer is the future of agency remuneration models," he tells AdAge. "I do think there is something where the old paying-by-the-hour thing is so outdated. We are always looking with all of our clients on how we can get paid differently, be it performance-related bonuses, or based on the value of our work, or in beer." 


Brand: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Prpduct: Stronger Seltzer
Campaign: Stronger Than You Think

Senior Brand Manager Ali Davala
Brand Manager John Newhouse
Creative Director Andrew DeMatos
Erica Sabol Social Media Coordinator

BBH New York
Chief Creative Officer Gerard Caputo
Executive Creative Director NA
Creative Director Liz Loudy
Creative Director Jackie Anzaldi
Art Director Connie Zhou
Designer Rachel Hess, Craig Duffney
Head of Production Brooke Taylor
Executive Producer, Print Lauren Fertitta
Content Producer Meg Volk
Director of Business Affairs Librado Sanchez
Business Director Alex Monger
Group Account Director NA
Account Manager Cris Flores
Assistant Account Manager NA
Project Manager Andrea Pulito
Head of Strategy NA
Strategist Kevin Ma, Chris Wiegand

Edit: Black Sheep Studios NY
Editor: Roman Micevic
Post Producer: Meg Volk
Music & Sound Design: Kevin Hastings

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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