From Stolen Van to Boosting Brand

Marketing firms and companies spend days, weeks, sometimes months trying to build the most effective Social Media Ad campaigns. Especially for start up companies, Social Media has become the building blocks for advertising push because of the ROI. In order to get some attention, they need to have fun with it. Be creative. Be Brave. Be different. Doing all this takes some great amount of marketing knowledge.  There will be forecasting and everything needs to be calculated to be successful in brand recognition. Right? not always.

2 years ago a Ottawa’s own local brewing company “Beyond the Pale” shared some unfortunate news on Facebook  that their company van had been stolen. They posted a picture of the branded van and asked their community to help find it. I saw the post and replied.. ” That’s too bad. I will keep my eyes open. Love your beer. Good Luck”. and went about my day.


Image by Beyond the Pale. Facebook


As the day went on, I was curious to now if the van was found. I went back to their page, It wasn’t. But I couldn’t believe the engagement level from the community. There were hundreds of posts, comments and people sharing their posts to help find their van. Local media commented on their post asking for an interview on the local news.

I went back on the site for a third time, to see a big thank you from the brewing company posting a pic of the Van and stating “we found the Van!! Thank you to Mr. XXXXX who found our VAN!” Beer is on us!” Even after the discovery, people replied in relief.

The amount of exposure and reach this company got in one day was remarkable and it was all due to an unfortunate event that brought the community together.  Current beer lovers that liked the company all went to the page to help and Beyond the Pale’s name spread like wild fire. They got a write up in the citizen and even made the 6 o’clock news!

Hintonburg brewer toasts return of stolen beer van

When we look at this story, we think an unfortunate event that brought relevance to a start up company. This happened in directly, it was a fluke. Or was it?

Ask the question: what if this WAS calculated? What if this was planned? What if the van wasn’t stolen and the company forecasted the communities reaction? I don’t think that is the case but it did cross my mind. Although they would be stepping into “unethical territory” apart of me would say this is Genius marketing.

What do you think?


Promotional Post:

facebook-logo-png-transparent-background-llch-300x225From stolen van to boosting brand: How a local brewer found their way.

twitter-logo From stolen van to boosting brand: How a local brewer found their way. #goodtobelucky #community #beerlovers #foundthevan



One thought on “From Stolen Van to Boosting Brand

  1. I can see why this marketing campaign makes you wonder about the authenticity of the event or if it is truly a community goodwill story. What is becoming more and more interesting is that we are now living in an era where everything has its own truth. Even when the facts point to an “alternative” truth, if people trust your intentions or if they align with your beliefs, then all can be overlooked or forgiven and still garner customer engagement.

    In your example of the stolen van, there would be many who, even if they were told that his was a marketing ploy, would still happily support the brand because of the unique approach, or because it was a “fun” way to gather community support or maybe because it was a “bad ass” thing to stage.

    Check out the link to this huffington post article about the truth and lies in social media. It is an interesting take on how brand managers influence and how we deliberately look for information that justifies our own preconceived biases. This force, labelled confirmation bias, is proof that as “humans, we seek out the truths we want to be true.”

    Would love to know how you would feel Lee if this marketing campaign was deliberate and how it would change your perception of the brand? Or would it change anything at all? Especially if you really liked the beer! 😀

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