Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How could something so cheap be so expensive?

Reading today's Globe, I couldn't help but titter when I learned that egomaniac and cheap beer peddler Frank D'Angelo has single-handedly ran Steelback Breweries into the ground from ad costs alone, according to its prime backer Barry Sherman.

Sherman said all aspects of the Steelback marketing plan, including Mr. D'Angelo's role as its main spokesman, are being re-evaluated.

"He was the one who authorized the commercials and he obviously focused too much on him and not enough on the product. So that's all being looked at," Mr. Sherman said.

For years, it was McCain Food's cheesy in-house ads that were a long-standing joke in Canadian culture, but starting in 2005 Frank D'Angelo really knocked it out of the park with shoddy commercials featuring single entendres about how his beer cans looked like big penises to dumb blondes, how he's best friends with Phil Esposito, and most bizarre of all, appearances from disgraced runner Ben Johnson, looking like he really needed the cash. Of course, D'Angelo appeared in all of the commercials, in one ad even dressing up as a kind of Japanese sensei for some reason, which was about as subtle as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's, if you get my drift.

Of course, I loved it. And now it's over. The lesson? Never spend twice as much on marketing than you make in beer sales.

PS: The CFL is looking pretty smart out of all of this.


James said...

Those ads always skeezed me out bigtime. Especially the one where that greaseball "sings".. Ergh.

The Toronto star also had a good article on the guy: "D'Angelo's fortunes fading fast"

Andy Grabia said...

Careful. He might sue you. Or me, for saying he might sue you.

therealdeal said...

Holy shit are you kidding, me? Those were the best ads ever. At least there was no pretense.

I wanted to buy Steelback purely because the ads were so random. Seriously.

mike w said...

Careful. He might sue you.

For a zillion dollars!

I think the dude has enough legal worries for now.


Anonymous said...

This guy was a modern-day Jesus. He shall be missed.

Chris! said...

And despite that advertising blitz, I've yet to walk into a bar and see anyone drinking a Steelback. Ever. Here's hoping it stays that way.

mc79hockey said...

I like how the story suggests that they were spending marketing dollars in areas in which they had no brand presence. Spectacular.

I'm not going to glory in his downfall - I'm sure it's a bad day for him and I never thought he was really a bad guy, just a guy who was all hat, no cattle. That said, if Neate Sager is feeling good today, it's tough to blame him.

mike w said...

I'm not going to glory in his downfall

I suppose "titter" was a bit of a strong word. It was more of a tsk.

Anonymous said...

This qualifies as the "feel good" story of the day, without question. That commercial where he's singing - badly - with that fat has-been Mike Love, it made me cheer against breast cancer research. That's how much I hated that ad.

garnet said...

That was Mike Reno. Mike Love woulda been a stunning other story.

Jared said...

I particularly enjoyed the ad with the snake hissing at the can. said...

The thing is that, as silly as the commercials were, they were really starting to work on me. I just couldn't find a beer store that sells them in Saskatoon. Now I feel bad that I didn't look harder.

Steelback's commercials were far better, and were actually acknowledging hockey and its fans more, than Budwater screaming at me for 20 seconds about how good the NFL's Jets are. I expect Budwater is spending far more than D'Angelo was and at least in my case, having far less effect.

garnet said...

Don't feel bad about missing out on Steelback at all. Check out the reviews their beers get:

Those number ratings are out of 5, by the way.

Duke of Spook said...

I can't believe you guys actually wanted to drink that stuff. Giving money to that prick is the last thing I'd ever want to do.

That being said, his lyrics truly are inspiring and I think Oilers fans everywhere should really take them to heart:


HBomb said...

PS: The CFL is looking pretty smart out of all of this.

Whoa. You've lost me here....this actually can happen?

Rod said...

In this case apparently so.

For those that don't know, this spotlight chaser was interested in reviving the Ottawa franchise in the CFL. He announced his intentions publicly before even contacting the league, and he wanted to rename the the for it...the Ottawa Steelback. Really.

Even the CFL was smart enough to come to the same "all hat" conclusion as tyler.

Anyway, here's a couple links:
- "Brewmaster defends bid for CFL team"
- "THANKS, BUT NO THANKS" article by Duane Forde (former Argo)