Facebook created Glizzy Claw, change my mind
#Content starfish and the hotdog-flavored hard seltzer
#️⃣ Digits: Brewing booze “news” with wiener water
Perhaps you’ve heard by now that a craft brewery in Texas is producing a hard seltzer brewed with leftover hotdog water. Does this have any bearing on your life? Not unless you live in close proximity to Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing, which will debut the “Bun Length” varietal of its “Awesome Sauce” hard seltzer brand at Glizzy Fest, a hotdog-oriented food festival it’s hosting next weekend. None of those words are in the Bible, but they’re all real enough. Are they… like… news? Only in the loosest possible sense! And yet, a quick search reveals that this innovation in drinkable tubed-meat discharge has generated…
69,900 Google News results
…and counting. Uh huh!
I’ve seen some jokes on Twitter about how hotdog hard seltzer is an abomination to beer and proves that craft brewing has lost its way, which, sure, whatever. But I think the more interesting angle vis-a-vis Bun Length (which should clearly be called Glizzy Claw, but whatever) is the media one. Hotdog hard seltzer is the logical outcome of several trends that have reshaped American mass media over the past decade, including but not limited to: enormous media consolidation as a result of Facebook and Google devouring the ad business; blurring lines between coverage and #content, with the latter proving far more optimal for social sharing and therefore prioritized by publishers desperate for whatever trickles of traffic they could still siphon; the laughable editorial standards at digital media start-ups and the degradation of same at legacy titles; the emergence of a creator class with massive reach and no editorial standards whatsoever; and the spiraling worthlessness—financially, if not civically—of non-national stories.
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This perfect storm has created an editorial vacuum into which The Brands have successfully stepped with all manner of PR stunt, headline hack, and goofy gimmick. Bullshit “dream jobs,” real social media meltdowns, and bizarre alco-llaborations are all conceived with the goal of harvesting free advertising from pliant content farms that blindly shit out shareable dreck in hopes of eking out diminishing traffic returns from the almighty algorithms. Mind you: I have no malice towards the writers who were tasked with publishing posts about hotdog-flavored hard seltzer, nor towards Martin House itself. The game is the game, every player has a part—including other brands; looking at you Oscar Mayer—and but for the grace/subscription fees of Friends of Fingers go I. (Please subscribe, etc.) Still, it is Fingers’ considered editorial perspective that Facebook and to a lesser extent Google have created a bad game that must be acknowledged as such, so here we are.
The brewery, which has previously produced beers flavored with BBQ sauce and Whataburger honey butter, seems to be deeply aware of this dynamic, and has been relishing (sorry) its latest, apparently Limp Bizkit-inflected marketing victory. As well it should, considering that sort of media costs tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s just another day in the office for us,” Martin House’s marketing director told the Dallas News, which first “broke” the “story” in late June, only to become Patient Zero for the viral #content outbreak that hit mainstream social feeds this week. “We’ve got to keep pushing the envelope.” Hot dog.
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