The fun part of tracking examples of Marketing as Service is that you never know when and where you might find one. A recent exploration of various websites for imported alcohol brands yielded an interesting example from the Dominican Republic courtesy of Brugal Rum. Creating road signposts where none stood before, Brugal provided a meaningful service that proved so popular it became a national phenomenon. Here’s the story as reported on Brugal’s website:
Some time ago road signs in the Dominican Republic were scarce. In the beginning of the 1970s, Brugal voluntarily offered to improve the situation and, in accordance with the local government, began to post signs in the form of the company’s crest that would identify the cities, towns, beaches and points of interest in the entire country.
It made us proud that this initiative ended up being very popular, and soon those same towns and cities began requesting these signs from Brugal. Today the tradition continues and the demand is so high that Brugal created a special workshop specializing in the production and maintenance of these signs.
The signs are like the traffic ones, nearly 3m high. And since this action by Brugal was not motivated by any publicity goals but rather a desire to help the people of our country, we don’t know the exact number of signs we have but surely it’s more than 4000.
Like many of the best examples of Marketing as Service, this one started with the brand’s desire to provide a service that would be of benefit to its target. Of course, they also ended up with thousands of very inexpensive reminders of the brand and made the brand an even more integral part of Dominican life. Whether you see this as crafty marketing, “enlightened self-interest,” or just plain CSR, it’s a good sign from any angle.