How Maker’s Mark Turned Its Watered Down Whiskey Debacle Into A Social Media Win

by David Geller
Last week Maker’s Mark announced plans to reduce the amount of alcohol in their signature product from 45% to 42%, reducing it from 90 to 84 proof.  This decision was being blamed on high demand and low supply.
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The outrage online was swift and unmerciful…angry tweets and boycott Facebook pages popped up all over the internet.
Executives at Maker’s Mark realized their mistake, reversed course and took to social media to spread the word.  They tweeted a simple apology “You spoke. We listened.” with a link to their Facebook page.
That phrase became a popular hashtag.
The Facebook post had been liked over 27 thousand times, shared more than 8.5 thousand times and has 4.2 thousand comments (as of Tuesday morning).
Why I’m curious
  • YAY!  Alcohol!
  • Brands will make missteps…how they react to them will determine their fate.  That Maker’s Mark was able to turn a debacle into a positive experience for their customers is a HUGE win.
  • Contrast this to some recent problems other brands have had w social media.
    • Applebee’s got skewered online for not only firing the hostess who posted a copy of the pastor’s “I only give God 10%, why should I give you 18?” receipt, but also for their ham-fisted reaction on social media.
    • Burger King recently lost control of their twitter account.  Not only were derogatory and offensive tweets made, but at one point the account’s image was changed to the Golden Arches and a message was posted that they had sold to McDonalds because the Whopper flopped.



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