Seeing the Elephant: Building Excitement for Anchor Brewing's New IPA

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Anchor Brewing Company has been hand-crafting beer in San Francisco since 1896. While branding their new India Pale Ale, Anchor IPA, it was discovered that the IPA beer style has connections to San Francisco - and even India - reaching back even further. And a social media campaign surrounding the launch helps bring that history to light.

India Pale Ale gets its name from British brewers who added extra hops to casks of beer in order to preserve "pale ales" stored for long voyages aboard sailing ships bound for India. These early British IPAs were also shipped to to California, traveling around Cape Horn to the busy port of San Francisco.

The elephant also shares a symbolic connection between India and gold rush-era San Francisco. As detailed on the Anchor Brewing Blog, to "see the elephant" was a popular metaphor for the fortune and adventure sought by those who packed up their lives and headed for northern California.

That's why the elephant features prominently on the label for Anchor IPA, and was the inspiration for a teaser campaign designed to generate buzz in advance of the beer's release. A series of highly shareable images of San Francisco landmarks hint at the arrival of an elephant, and some impending "Big" news.

Image #1 kicked off the campaign with a subtle hint that "Something Big is Coming."

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Image #2 provided the first glimpse of the elephant: a partial shadow appearing in front of a San Francisco trolley on Powell Street.

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Image #3 featured the "Painted Ladies" and a full elephant shadow, inviting craft beer enthusiasts to "See the Elephant" on February 6.

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For the "Big" announcement of the release of Anchor IPA, the elephant appears in Anchor's classic copper brewhouse.

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The campaign reached a total of 82,100 Facebook users so far, generating 1,780 photo views, 3,231 likes, 127 comments, and 108 shares leading up to the release of Anchor IPA. Thousands more were reached via Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, creating excitement for the new beer from craft beer enthusiasts across the country looking forward to "Seeing the Elephant."

Have you seen the elephant? Learn more about Anchor IPA on the Anchor Brewing website.

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