Tweet Nicely, Durham Beer Lovers

If you’re looking to promote a small batch craft beer for a limited time in a single tap room, it helps if you happen to own an ad agency, too.

David Baldwin happens to own both. More specifically, he’s the founder of an agency — Baldwin& — and a partner in Ponysaurus Brewing Co., both in Durham, NC.

The brewer has introduced its Mystery Holiday Beer and Baldwin has unleashed the troops at the agency to get the word out.

The brewer, the agency and digital shop Viget have launched a humorous viral campaign built around the “Ponysaurus Holiday Spirit Measurer Thingy” (PHSMT), a Wi-Fi-connected mood barometer. 

Made of brass, wood, glass, some computer gear and an LEDpanel, the PHSMTis a nearly four-foot-tall, 70-pound retro-techno-looking device that measures the "local holiday spirit" by tracking the Internet for all Tweets originating from the Durham area. Each tweet is rated in real time as either “naughty” or “nice” (i.e. negative or positive).

The ratio of nice to naughty tweets moves the PHSMT needle, and until that needle hits “Nice,” the tap for the Mystery Holiday Brew is kept securely closed. 

Thus far, most of the tweets analyzed have been neutral in tone, but it’s the positive and negative tweets that move the needle. When positive sentiment prevails, a bell rings, the LED message shifts from naughty to nice and the tap for the seasonal beer is opened for 180 seconds.  Free samples are dispensed.

An LED panel displays any grumpy Tweeter’s username in red; cheerful in green.

While free beer is only available to those at the bar, others can view the action via the live feed.

In addition to word-of-mouth outreach, the PHSMT marketing effort includes paid Facebook advertising that targets those living in the Research Triangle -- Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill -- between the ages of 21 and 55, with beer interests. Additional support will run on Ponysaurus’s website and on its Facebook and Twitter channels. 

 “Ponysaurus is a clash of traditional and contemporary beer culture,” says Baldwin. “We try to keep it fun, vibrant and modern, but the weird stops at the beer. The beer itself is always an attempt to make the best version of a classic recipe that we can.” 

The PHSMT was conceived and creative-directed by Baldwin& and physically built by the hardware architects at Viget. 

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