Ad Nut
Dec 20, 2023

Slay to pay Kiwi beer machine is awesome for some

Thinkerbell's beer dispenser for guitar virtuosos made for New Zealand's Panhead Custom Ales is a dream come true for old guys who have been waiting for this all their lives.

"Dude, like... what if there was a frosty cold beer vending machine, but like, it only worked for those who could friggin' slay it on guitar?"

"Yeah, but like only the best players could actually get the beer. You'd have to absolutely kill it... and that's how you paid!" 

"So many people would come to see if they could smash it."

"And get thirsty while waiting!"

"That would be like the best beer campaign ever!" 

The above conversation, easily imagined taking place in Steve's parents' basement, or Ricky's garage 20 years ago, seems instead to have happened in 2023 at the offices of creative agency Thinkerbell (once partially owned by PwC no less).

Because that is exactly what they've done. In a bit of good fun for independent craft brewery Panhead Custom Ales, the folks at Thinkerbell have put technology to good use creating a 'slay to pay' machine that delivers free cold beer to only the best guitar heroes, with AI audio fingerprinting rating people's axe skills in real time.

And as you can imagine, some guys are lovin' every minute of it. Just look at Craig in the video above. Or this 'talented punter' in the Instagram feed below.

Yep, it's pretty much an older white guy's dream, which likely fits well with Panhead's clientele and its rock 'n roll brand ethos, evident across all its beer and merchandise, including Rolling Stone Nayslayer IPA, Black Sabbath T-Shirts and Johnny Octane posters. 

“As a brewery that’s all about living loud, pushing the boundaries and customisation, the machine was the perfect combination of a couple of our favourite things, cold beer and really loud music," says Panhead Custom Ale's Rebecca Sinclair. 

While not partial to heavy metal, Ad Nut has nonetheless appreciated its use in certain works in the past. And what Ad Nut likes here is that the brand owner and agency aren't overhyping the campaign or technology, as others might.

“It's essentially a souped up guitar hero for adults,” Sinclair says. “As far as we know, this is a first of its kind machine with some pretty cool new tech and the best kind of reward for those willing to give it a go."

But would your average squirrel like the campaign and racket it causes? Hells no. Nor would many others outside the metalhead demographic they're targeting here.

Just think of all the really bad guitar players who think they're actually good (yes, there are a few of those out there) who have now been incentivised through beer to finally 'give it a go'. That's a dangerous thing! For every Craig and axe grinder like we see on these videos there have got to be 10 to 20 other players whose mad binges are more like bad cringes for the rest of us.

Fortunately it sounds like the good people at Panhead are wisely choosing to be selective with when and whom gets to try their best, as Sinclair says those thirsty guitarists keen to conquer 'Slay to Pay' should keep an eye on Panhead’s instagram page for updates.

As a marketing tool for Panhead customers, this idea will absolutely rock some worlds.

The rest of us can pay for our beers. 

Campaign Asia

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