New Belgium and Outside Magazine use beer and social media to help dogs

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New Belgium Brewing Co. is teaming up with Outside Magazine to take advantage of dog owners' desires to take pictures of their dogs and eagerly share them with anyone who's alive. Coinciding with the release of Mighty Arrow Pale Ale is a Facebook campaign through which friends of both the brewery and magazine can enter photos of their dogs; each entry yields a $1 donation (up to $10,000) to the Humane Society.

"We started to think about unique ways we could leverage some of the organic engagement we had on Facebook already," says Adrian Glasenapp, brand activist at New Belgium. "A lot of people were posting images of their pets and dogs. For them it seemed like drinking our beer with their best friend, their dog, was a pretty common theme."

Friends of New Belgium and Outside can submit pictures and videos of their dogs through Facebook. Each week for the next six weeks, the dog owner who submits the cutest or most entertaining photo or video will receive a New Belgium hat, a recycled Frisbee, a dog collar made of recycled tire tubes and a year's subscription to Outside.

The Mighty Arrow Pale Ale is New Belgium's spring seasonal beer for the third year and a tribute to Arrow, an Aussie/border collie mix that belonged to New Belgium's CEO Kim Jordan and used to roam the brewery. The dog love doesn't just come from the New Belgium side. On the campaign's Facebook page is a video of Outside contributor Grayson Schaffer's yellow lab fetching a Mighty Arrow out of the vending machine.

"With the Mighty Arrow Social Campaign, we want to continue to tell the unique story of our brand and our beer while engaging directly with consumers in a fun and dynamic way on the social web," says Glasenapp. "We also want to put the consumer at the center of our message and provide a way for them to tell their New Belgium and/or Mighty Arrow story through the eyes of their best friend."

The promotion started on Monday, and more than 2,000 entries have already rolled in. The donation limit of $10,000 should come rather quickly; a Facebook fan base of around 270,000 has been subtly alerted that New Belgium has a new beer for sale and that Outside subscriptions are still available.

"Marketing with meaning more and more has become a proven way to connect with people on a deeper level and engage people," says Glasenapp. "And where there is engagement, there are sales."

The campaign is a perfect fit for New Belgium -- and not just because it helps the Humane Society and could drive revenue. "Intrinsic to the beer and intrinsic to the message and story behind the beer is that connectivity we have with dogs," says Glasenapp. "With our culture being a humane and conscious culture, a lot of the pets we have as a company are adopted dogs."

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