Hieronymous Dufour, owner and Chief Brewmaster at Catahoula Microbrewery, had a problem.
While he was pleased that his other products, Catahoula Hound Amber, Fox Run Bock Beer, Ole Mutt Raspberry Delight Beer, and Sludge Bayou Pale Ale, were doing well both in sales and in critical acclaim. his signature Catahoula Puppy 3.2 Percent Lite Beer was in the same league as the other light beers: unloved and profoundly ridiculed as the others. These were in the category that is always on sale at reduced prices and only to freshmen boys from unsophisticated places or people who had doubts as to the water supply.
Anyway, Hieronymous found the prospects of getting celebrity endorsements to jump-start his product to be both costly and frustrating. The best he could do is one of the critics on the Food Network and some guy from MSNBC who seemed like a low-rent Rush Limbaugh. Not even B-list performers did wished to be linked to 3.2 percent beer!
He finally faced the facts: light beers are awful; and any marketing of them as light beers is doomed to failure. And, obviously, truth-in-advertising federal rules prohibited him from positioning Catahoula Puppy 3.2 Percent Lite Beer as a dietary supplement or as a status enhancer. He briefly pondered about advertising it as a Viagra substitute; but the same federal nagging insistence on truthiness applied there as well.
A better name for the beer? The marketing consultants suggested Catahoula Puppy to go with the same branding pattern as his highly successful Catahoula Dog flagship beer. And who doesn't have a warm spot for puppies? (Sometimes it becomes a wet one as well!) A change in label, or a different color for it? That might be a possibility . . . . Hieronymous pondered to no avail.
While thumbing through one of his health magazines, he repeatedly encountered the word "homeopathic," as in "homeopathic medicine." [Is that an oxymoron or merely cynical irony on steroids?]
On reading about homeopathy, he found out that it was a form of alternative medicine (call that quackery) that attempts to treat patients with heavily diluted preparations of some substances which produce certain symptoms in order to treat disorders that produce similar symptoms. These types of remedies are prepared by serially diluting the substances. The assumption is that each successive dilution increases the effect of the treatment. (This process is called potentization.)
Ideas came together in Hieronymous's mind, perhaps fueled by three Catahoula Hound Ambers: Why not Catahoula Puppy Natural Homeopathic Beer?! After all, light beer and homeopathic medicines have similarities: they both are diluted! And, as long as he didn't use the term "homeopathic medicine" in the advetisements, he felt that he could get away with it.
So Hieronymous Dufour, a born gambler, gave the order to his Assistant Brewmaster Duelpher, and his minion, the Assistant to the Assistant Brewmaster, to produce more diluted beer! Sadly, the subordinates complied with that dismal order, saying to the beer stocks while following obeying, "We who are about to sigh dilute thee."
So Catahoula Puppy 3.2 Percent Homeopathic Lite Beer was repackaged, and sold only in health food stores, wherein sales skyrocketed! Within four months, Catahoula Puppy was in the top five beers sold in California, even though no one there knew what a Catahoula puppy was.
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