Leave no stone unturned when brewing a pitch.
Stone Brewing Co., a California-based brewer, was looking east for a place to expand, and Blount County wanted to be that place. Blount Partnership joined forces with Designsensory to make the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains a standout among hundreds of proposals.
Bryan Daniels, president and CEO of Blount Partnership, gave carte blanche to Matt Honkonen of Designsensory’s business development team and Senior Designer Matt Montgomery to create a pitch book that reflected Stone’s take-no-prisoners attitude. Attempting to woo a company that sports a tagline reading “Challenging Convention Since 1996” and a beer lineup that includes such names as Ruination and Arrogant Bastard was a welcomed creative challenge.
In the large-scale, hardcover book, Montgomery used bold, masculine typefaces and textured treatments to echo the edge that Stone brings to brewing. The size and shape of the book and its case are reminiscent of a limited-edition vinyl album—heavy metal, in all likelihood. The heavy, black case sets the tone with a distressed finish that shows off Stone’s devilish winged logo. Clever use of color and type and a tongue-in-cheek Tennessee Knowledge quiz guaranteed a second—and third—look.
The book’s content mixes a friendly, conversational tone with the business know-how that Tennessee is known for. More than the necessary site-specific details, the colorful images showcase the quality of life that our “scruffy and proud” population loves. The Final Word in the book is delivered with a gritty mix of humor and facetious arrogance, proving that our area is worthy of the brewer who bottles their own mix of Arrogant Bastard.
The branding took on a life of its own through social media, numerous articles and television. Bryan Daniels put together a gathering at a Maryville, Tennessee watering hole to celebrate the proposal’s release.
Honkonen and Montgomery, both musicians, entertained the supportive crew with one of two songs Honkonen wrote to accompany the proposal. Honkonen shared with WBIR.com, “I think craft brewers appreciate the art that they bring, and that’s a universal language.”
Although Stone Brewery ultimately chose to go elsewhere with their east coast location, Honkonen and Montgomery consider their ambitious project a success. It was the kind of outrageous, pie-in-the-sky pitch that changes everything, even (and perhaps most importantly) the minds and hearts of a very conservative county in their journey to attract a craft brewer to their area.
Leaving no stone unturned in creativity and connections, Designsensory and Blount Partnership ensured that this pitch would drive visibility and buzz.
The pitch became a multifaceted, passionate experience with a book, song, news coverage and social media trending.
The Partnership recognized that, while only some of decision-makers were the target, the message could be elevated by engaging the community.
Recognizing the pitch was open to hundreds of communities, the team was able to track competitor progress in real time.
"Designsensory’s nontraditional pitch approach was covered by local, regional and national media. The American Advertising Federation recognized the creativity of the pitch with a Gold Advertising Award."