3 Marketing Observations From Oktoberfest In Munich

On my way to Kyiv in the Ukraine a few days ago I planned a stopover for about 8 hours in Munich. As it turned out, it was just enough time to head out of the airport into the city and just outside in Theresienweise to visit the fair grounds for one of the largest celebrations of Oktoberfest in Germany. The Munich version was complete with rides, huge beer halls, never ending mugs of beer and half meter long servings of bratwurst. The best description I can offer is that just about everything you imagine Oktoberfest to be is true. I was there at 9:30 in the morning and it seemed that people had been up and drinking for hours. Here’s a video of the experience early in the morning at Oktoberfest in Munich:

And here’s my Gallery with images from Oktoberfest:

Finally, as I promised, here are a few marketing observations I made while walking around:

  1. Franciscan friars are the de facto spokespeople for German beer, being featured on most logos (usually with one hand on their oversized belly, and the other holding a large mug of beer). Forget abstinence, the friars had the right philosophy of religion.
  2. The beer hall with the longest line was one that opened a mere 15 minutes before every one else. At a packed event like Oktoberfest where people are eager to start their experience, those 15 minutes mattered. Sometimes the best marketing strategy could simply be to open earlier than anyone else.
  3. During Oktoberfest, it is fairly reasonable to assume that pretty much everyone will be holding a beer in one hand. Perhaps as a result, I saw mostly food for sale on the street that could be eaten with one hand. What’s the marketing lesson there? Know your audience.

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