Patrón Tequila Adds Viral Marketing With Online Social Community

Patron Tequila has launched an online community called the "Patrón Social Club," a members-only hub for tequila aficionados at patronsocialclub.com. The community is an extension of the brand's "Simply Perfect" global, integrated marketing campaign.

After registering to enter the Social Club, members are guided by a handsome, white suit-clad concierge who spouts facts about Patrón while members tour different rooms of the site.

Members are encouraged to "ID" their Patrón bottles by entering the handwritten numbers on their bottles of tequila to find out the history of that specific bottle, such as the field in Jalisco, Mexico, where the agave was grown and the year it was harvested, distilled and bottled--a way of deepening the connection between consumers and the brand.

The concierge also encourages users to participate in the site's robust community-oriented channels. "What's your latest gadget?" he asks, and "Name five cities you'd like to visit in the next year and why."

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"If you could have a different car for every day of the week, which cars would you have in your garage?" the concierge asks, prompting members to enter the "Contribute" section of the site and fill in information about music, food, trips and fashion, and other categories, for sharing among other Social Club members. The postings, such as one about Absolute Bagels in New York City besting more famous H&H Bagels, are then broadcast as headlines across the site, to which members can click through.

This type of viral information sharing both builds community among Social Club members as well as fosters a sense of insider, exclusive knowledge about what's hot that Patrón can leverage to learn what interests its customers "and to create meaningful, relevant interaction," says Matt Carroll, vice president/marketing, Patrón Spirits Company.

"People who enjoy Patrón are trendsetters; they're active and knowledgeable about what's happening within their circle of friends, their community and the world in general. The Patrón Social Club recognizes and encourages this common bond among our customers," Carroll says.

The Patrón Social Club and the "Simply Perfect" campaign were created by Dallas-based The Richards Group in partnership with Richards Relationship Marketing and interactive group Click Here. The launch of the Social Club is being supported by targeted ads in regional and national magazines inviting readers to become members, as well as by distribution of invitation cards and refer-a-friend e-mails.

The "Simply Perfect" campaign states that while some notions of perfection are debatable, when it comes to tequila, there is no debate.

That campaign has its own community-oriented content Web site at simplyperfect.com, where a list of debatable subjects, such as "Real/Fake," "Cat /Dog" "Caddyshack/Animal House" and "The Beatles/Stones" are presented. When users click through, they see postings by users of their opinions on one side of the debate versus another, and a percentage seeing which side ranks higher (the Beatles currently have 63% of the audience). Users can also upload new debates with audio and video entries.

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