An Internet meme that quickly gained popularity thanks to a Twitter account by the same name and posts on social media sites Tumblr and Reddit is now being used in a very different way — to sell beer.
The “Florida Man” meme which usually uses the phrase to link to news stories about people engaged in all kinds of bizarre behavior has become an Internet sensation. The Twitter feed also bears the flippant tag “Real-life stories of the world’s worst superhero.”
But it turns out the meme is more than just a source of amusement to some. With recent headlines like “Florida Man Flies Off Moving Pickup Truck When Mattress He is Riding Becomes Airborne,” and “Florida Man Accused of Stealing Alcohol, Cheese, Lamp” the Twitter feed has certainly caught the public;s attention.
And one Florida-based entrepreneur is betting he can turn that attention into another kind of success.
Tampa craft brewing company Cigar City Brewing has created a bottled batch of Florida Man beer. The bottle’s label includes a slightly modified version of the mug shot photo that’s used by the Florida Man Twitter account.
The photo is actually of an Indiana man named Ricky Lee Kalichun, who was arrested in 2011 for attacking someone with a sword after drawing on his face with a Sharpie. The brewery didn’t seek specific permission from the man to use the image, but hopes instead that he’ll just embrace the humor of it.
The humor is the whole idea behind the beer’s name and label. Cigar City Brewing’s founder Joey Redner told CNN:
“I just always thought it was funny all the shots Florida took on the chin for things that happen here. I figured, if people are going to poke fun at you, you might as well embrace it.”
The beer itself is a double India Pale Ale that the brewery calls “crazy hoppy.” The brewery first created the beer last year, but it’s just now bottling it for the first time. Currently, the brewery is only making one batch of about 3,000 bottles that will be sold at select retail locations around Florida. But if it’s successful, the brewery is open to producing more and even selling it at locations outside of Florida.
And it wouldn’t exactly be surprising for the beer to do well. The Florida Man Twitter account has already become a viral sensation with 258,000 followers. That popularity, mixed with the humor of the Florida Man brand, could certainly propel the crazy hoppy beer to success.
Memes are quite interesting. It may seem like they serve no purpose whatsoever but you can actually use them for branding and promotion. The thing is, people respond to memes because they are funny and easy to remember. And because of this, it has a high tendency to become viral.
They have that recognizable factor, so I think that’s why they can be useful in marketing. And the humor never hurts either.
This is an entertaining story. Smart on behalf of the brewery to tap into something that’s already so popular.
I agree! It’s a really interesting marketing concept for them.