BrewDog accused of stealing marketing ideas

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by wesbray, May 12, 2019.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,849) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Maybe not...:grin:
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And don't forget, she liked to "smoke some crawdads" too!

    A woman ahead of her time!?!:flushed:

    Ozzylizard, FBarber and cavedave like this.
  3. Screper

    Screper Aspirant (280) Jun 18, 2010 Massachusetts

    Have to clarify some things it appears:

    The invoice is from Jenny Frankart who appears to have been a candidate for marketing position at BrewDog. She had absolutely nothing to do with the "Punk AF" marketing plan from @ManifestLDN. She simply appears to be a classic entitled millennial, who is upset about not getting a job after a long interview process. Ten out ten marketing interviews will require the candidate to spend time, outside of the interview, putting together marketing plans. THIS IS HOW COMPANIES DETERMINE IF YOU CAN DO THE JOB!! At no point are they required to pay you for this. Absolutely insane that she says in her tweets - "I have never pursued legal action." NO KIDDING - Because you can't; sad world we live in now where people believe they should be compensated for job interviews.

    As far as stealing a marketing idea for Punk AF. I'll leave that one up to the lawyers but that seems to me to be the cost of business in a position where you get paid to provide ideas to others.
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  4. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Can we please go back to Granny and Jed and the stuffed squirrel?
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And the crawdads!

  6. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (416) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    This sort of swipe really doesn't bolster your point.

    And I don't have enough information to feel strongly about this one way or the other, but isn't the fact that several other people chimed in to the tweet thread with similar stories and concerns the bigger issue?
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  7. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,195) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think this much has been pretty clear. She first showed up in the same twitter thread that was started by by Manifest though.

    Sad world we live in where people actually believe that workers should provide labour, be it physical or intellectual, for multi-million dollar companies for free. You also missed the part where she claimed that Brew Dog agreed to compensate her for travel expenses and then never did.

    Also, who the fuck "interviews" someone for 5 MONTHS? That's not an interviewing process, that's just an excuse to get free labour out of people.

    #47 Snowcrash000, May 13, 2019
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The interview process used is known as Talent Assessment testing and it is being used with increasing frequency. It typically consists of asking the candidate to perform one or more simulated or real tasks that are comparable to those they will be expected to be doing well at if hired. Its use is growing because there are data showing increased validity when compared to the standard 15-30 minute Q&A session. (I.e., the percentage of hires that are successful goes up, and the percentage of "poor choice" hires goes down, thereby reducing the costs of a hiring in general.)

    For certain types of routine tasks the testing may be done in an hour or two and online, for other more complex and/or creative tasks it may be spread out over several days since what is desirable for both the candidate and the potential employers is a realistic work sample of what can be expected under anticipated working conditions. Sometimes the tasks are done at the "convenience" of the applicant rather than in a fixed time frame set by the "interviewer."
    #48 drtth, May 13, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  9. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (875) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    BrewDog's statement of "...we didn't ask you to produce work which will be used for BrewDog's commercial purposes" seems directly at odds with several of the interview requirements that are explicitly asking for ideas to promote BrewDog beers, mobilise BrewDog Equity Punk investors, grow their social media online community, etc. Assuming the interview requirements posted are verbatim from BrewDog its looks very much like they explicitly asking them "to produce work which will be used for BrewDog's commercial purposes."

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  10. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Zealot (500) Mar 19, 2012 California

    I stopped reading after it said "BrewDog"...
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  11. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Like I said, Granny's hiding place for her rheumatism medicine in the stuffed squirrel is way more interesting than modern hiring practices. This stuff is drier than alum or unripe persimmons.
    kemoarps, FBarber and cavedave like this.
  12. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,152) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    You know what would further increase the odds of successful hires and decrease the risk of poor choices? If each of the candidates were to work at the company for 6-12 months for free, so the hiring managers can “really get a good feel” for each one as they settle into the work. At the end of that time, one candidate is hired and the others simply have their key cards revoked. The successful candidate is already up to speed and the others, well, better luck next time.

    I replied to your post @drtth, but that wasn’t directed at you specifically. Of course the Talent Assessment process is increasing in popularity/frequency, it shifts a significant portion of the hiring risk from company to applicant.
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  13. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Sounds like double secret pre-probation. Rules will follow where needed.
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  14. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well, risk can be in the eye of the beholder. Personally I'd rather be hired because I can do the work than because I went to a prestigous school and dressed in a nice conservative suit with matching tie. That decreases my risk that I'll be let go in 12-18 mos and gives me a firmer basis to compete from if I decide to leave my job for other opportunities.
    #54 drtth, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  15. CannedWaggoneer

    CannedWaggoneer Initiate (97) May 1, 2017 Ohio

    If there was any doubt about how BrewDog puts marketing before brewing their "Brewcruiter" put those doubts to bed right there in that email.

    Asking of this potential marketing candidate;
    "An idea for a new beer launch. Include what the beer is, and a creative idea to launch it, with rationale for your decisions [sic]"

    It's always seemed evident to me that they launch beers for their marketing strength rather than any craft brewing integrity. But here it is in writing. BrewDog shouldn't even been in craft beer conversations.
  16. pwdbyhops

    pwdbyhops Aspirant (208) Apr 1, 2015 Ohio

    Actually, i'm not sure that the law is on the her side. What exactly is protectable (by intellectual property rights) in what she provided? Is there a contract between Brewdog and the woman that states that everything the woman provides is protected and cannot be used? There is a big difference between morally wrong and illegal.
  17. pwdbyhops

    pwdbyhops Aspirant (208) Apr 1, 2015 Ohio

    Agreed that there is nothing wrong with the testing. However, Brewdog should not use the material. That is the crux of the issue: Did Brewdog actually use any of her work? Even if they use her stuff, it may be morally wrong, but it may not be protectable (depending on what sort of information she provided). Unfortunately, people aren't trained to ask for a contract (like an NDA) which delineates the rights of the parties w.r.t the work product.
    Roguer likes this.
  18. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (383) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    So is there anything in the world less punk rock than BrewDog?

    I was thinking, maybe the Chamber of Commerce in some central Ohio town with a population less than, say, 15,000 people, but then I re-read the “interview” task sheet...
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  19. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (329) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    Agreed. The corporatized, shiny, faux-badassness neatly packed in the trappings of punk rock is completely nauseating.
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  20. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (416) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    It would appear that the Brew "dog" in question is actually Poochie.
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  21. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Aspirant (201) Oct 29, 2011 New Jersey

    Well, the former federal prosecutor in the responses to James' tweet thinks he's in the wrong here legally, so I'm going to side with him.
    FBarber likes this.
  22. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    He thinks that someone should be paid $125 per hour for Skype sessions that are part of a job interview???

    Edit: Don't have twitter so can't see his rationale.
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  23. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Aspirant (201) Oct 29, 2011 New Jersey

    Basically the gist is that if you don't pay for the IP it is not yours. Without receiving compensation she has every right to defend her IP (don't we hear brewers saying that phrase a lot?). This is the basic understanding that goes into the creative freelancer/employer arrangement. If she can prove she created the ideas being used and was not compensated for them, she has a good shot of winning a lawsuit.

    James then taking to Twitter to call out this girl is basically him providing all the evidence she needs to show that she was taken advantage of in this arrangement.

    I'm still amazed that we have people trying to defend the idea of using an interview to steal someone's labor.
  24. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (267) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    I feel any legit company would tell them ' we don't like 95% of your ideas. But we like the name PUNK AF' and would be compensated for that.

    Instead they straight up told them we hate your ideas, only to steal them and use them?

    Does this happen a lot in the freelance business? I think of these jersey and logo contests sports teams often do. They get free labor to give them ideas. I don't know if they are ever compensated correctly.

    Even construction companies putting in bids. Unless their ideas are stolen and they aren't getting picked, I can't grasp how this is acceptable in any facet of life.

    Now if they went through all those meetings and didn't like a single idea, I get getting cut loose and not being paid. So many construction bids cost money just to submit them. There is no guarantee you'd be selected. But if they used her insights and dragged it along, that's just bad business. That'd be like using ideas from a losing companies bid without recognition. You just can't do that.
    #64 Oktoberfiesta, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  25. Izzy_Izumi

    Izzy_Izumi Initiate (132) Aug 3, 2017 California

    We are at a point now where the stagiaire is now part of the corporate cycle. Now, I don't know who's wrong, but a 5 month interview seems excessive.
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  26. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Note: This type of invoice is universal in the industry. It is done so that the professional retains IP rights. The full invoice says: "Outlined are the projects/meetings, hours and standard hourly rate. If payment is not received by the terms listed above, all work and ideas provided through this period remain intellectual property of [applicant]."

    James -Brewdog guy- removed this part of the invoice. Doing so was incredibly deceptive.
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  27. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (345) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Marketing is just as important as brewing if a brewery wants to succeed and grow. You could bottle the best beer that has ever been brewed, but you'll never sell it unless you also market it.
    That applies for anyone from a local micro-brewery to international conglomerates. Everyone knows who Anheuser-Busch and Miller are and what they make, but they still spend billions on marketing every year.
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  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania


    So she is claiming IP theft on the portfolio she produced as part of the job interview. I thought it was the other marketing group claiming IP theft and showed what the think is evidence. What is her evidence of use of her ideas? Has she said yet?
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  29. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Nobody is trying to diminish the significance of marketing. I think many craft beer enthusiasts are simply irked that the marketing is taking prominence over the beer itself, as appears to be the case here.

    Not directed towards you in particular but just an aside: geez the mental gymnastics some people engage in to defend multinational corporations that clearly exploited individual workers is... strange.
  30. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    So you are saying she had a contract to do work? Or just that her invoice says they can’t use her ideas unless they pay her for time while being interviewed. Has she provided evidence her iP was used?
  31. CannedWaggoneer

    CannedWaggoneer Initiate (97) May 1, 2017 Ohio

    This exactly. Marketing is definitely needed. But I think the difference between respectable craft brewers is that they make beer they like, are interested in or would want to drink themselves. Then they set about marketing it and selling it. BrewDog, here, has shown that they aren't interested in releasing a beer unless it has a really sound marketing strategy first. Even going so far as asking marketing specialists to design a new product for them.

    I can only imagine how stifling it must feel to be a skilled, creative brewer at BrewDog. Surely they are just seen as physical grunt work, their creative understanding of their craft is cheaply outsourced to those who are essentially salesmen.

    They make an IPA with grapefruit flavoring in it. Anything they do is therefore forgivable.
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  32. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    An explicit contract? Not that I'm aware of. IP isn't my area of practice so I won't pretend to be an expert (especially on such a complex practice realm), but I can almost definitely assure you that either (1) there is an implied contract and/or (2) the work is governed by statute. In either case an explicit contract wouldn't be necessary in order for BD to be disallowed from using her work. And I'm not aware of any evidence she's presented re: BD using her work. That should be pretty easy to find though, maybe someone else can weigh in.
    Roguer likes this.
  33. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    She doesn't need to provide ANY evidence to Torches and Pitchforks Nation. That will, presumably, be included in any legal action to follow.
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  34. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Can I ask what you mean by "Torches and Pitchforks Nation?" It sounds like you're implying that people are unfairly criticizing BrewDog or doing so too early? Do you not think it's reasonable to criticize them for -for example- misleadingly cropping an invoice to imply that the creative was only seeking money (instead of seeking to preserve her IP rights)? Or criticizing them for their hilariously disingenuous marketing strategies? Or for prioritizing branding over their beer? Or for unironically using the term "equity punks" (lol)?
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  35. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (119) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    You know you can just look at Twitter on the web, right?
    sharpski likes this.
  36. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Twitter and, to a certain extent, Facebook and Instagram.

    IOW, places where the mob is easily incited.
  37. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    The followup to that question was the operative part. Do you think that this criticisms are unreasonable? If so, why? Or are you complaining about other criticisms?
    kemoarps likes this.
  38. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Why would you expect any useful understanding to come from Twitter?
    kemoarps likes this.
  39. William_Navidson

    William_Navidson Initiate (154) May 1, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Because there's plenty of useful content on Twitter? Take, for instance, the full invoice that I posted earlier which clearly revealed that James was being deceptive in his cropping of the invoice previously. And I'm sorry, but -respectfully- that doesn't really address what I was getting at above...
  40. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (407) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    I never really had any sort of opinion about BrewDog. Other than they let a sixth grade boy name their brewery.

    But I'm kind of hating these blow hards pretty hard right now. It's a shame too because I really don't have much dark energy left to use up on corporate blow hards. Wal Mart requires almost all of it.

    They have stolen a little bit of my dark energy. Assholes.