Local Brewery Creates Team Fiona IPA to Honor America’s Favorite Hippo

Cincinnati’s Listermann Brewing Company is launching a new beer that has everyone talking, thanks to America’s hippest baby hippo. The Midwest microbrewery released Team Fiona New England-style IPA in honor of the Cincinnati Zoo’s prematurely born baby hippo who has captured the hearts of millions all over the world after going viral on social media.


Not only did Listermann make an adorable gesture by adding this beer to their roster, they are donating 25 percent of the beer’s proceeds to the Cincinnati Zoo.


Videos of the adorable little hippo started appearing all over the Internet soon after her birth. The Cincinnati Zoo started blogging steps in Fiona’s journey to recovery the day after she was born. Since then, they have recorded everything — from helping her learn how to swim to feeding her bottles, to aiding her in walks up inclines. On Mother’s Day, the Zoo included a heartfelt video of baby Fiona touching noses with her mother.


Baby Fiona’s prematurity requires 24-hour care and physical therapy sessions, costing the zoo a great deal of money. The international attention that the hippo and support from local brands like Listermann Brewing Company has helped the zoo cover costs for her care. The baby hippo has made periodic visits to the outdoor pool and now stays in the same stall as her mother.


Adult beverage companies can learn from Listermann Brewing’s brilliant partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo. Not only is the branding of #TeamFiona’s IPA familiar and creative, but it combines community spirit with online social trends. In order to be successful in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, it is important to remember the following marketing tips:


Be creative

Think of great beer, and a Hippo is likely the last symbol to come to mind. But it’s hard not to fall in love with baby Fiona and her touching story. Most consumers can relate to a special familial bond, and seeing it personified with adorable animals makes it all the more emotional. To us, this sounds like a rare branding opportunity. As of now, Listermann has shown how much their brand cares about Fiona. Listermann is now on the same team as the hundreds of thousands of consumers cheering on this adorable hippo family. And if another brand decides to follow suit, it will reek of opportunistic corporatism. So pay attention to trends, and be the first to do something new. New customers will follow.


Create a brand that locals will fall in love with

It’s hard to fault Listermann for taking advantage of this opportunity when you consider that a quarter of the profits will go to rehabilitating baby Fiona. We say it all the time here at Weir & Bein, brand loyalty is incredibly important in the craft beer sector. That’s because both moderate and light users are looking for a recognizable brand that they know they can trust. That means that even after baby Fiona is fully grown and the viral sensation begins to subside, there will still be a considerable number of new Listermann drinkers. All because they created a brand out of an opportunity that speaks to the local community.


Take advantage of viral trends

Want to hear something not-so shocking? The segment that drinks the most craft beer is the oft-maligned millennial. Do you know what else millennials love? Viral trends. The lesson here is to know your audience and what they like. If your customers feel like your brand understands them and their unique set of problems, often times that brand can be a solution. Pay attention to more than your craft – pay attention to your customer’s behaviors. Doing this will lead to new opportunities to send creative and effective messages to your biggest fans.


Give back to the community

It’s a fact that the biggest brands give back. Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is hardly a new thing, but its value is growing right now. We think that there are plenty of reasons for this, but for the sake of readability, we’ll offer some quantifiable statistics: Over half of consumers will pay more for products made by socially responsible companies, and 93% of the top 250 companies publish CSR reports. Think about how giving back has impacted Listermann: the small brewery has earned headlines in US News & World Report, FOX, and NBC. That’s huge for a small brand, and they owe it all to giving back.


Work with an agency that does all the above

At Wier & Bein, paying attention to trends is what we do. If you would like our trained eye helping your brand, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.


Get started with a free consultation!

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