Bootie Call

The words "sophistication" and "beer ads" are, for the most part, mutually exclusive. The average beer commercial shows crowds of people screaming at some sporting event, leering at scantily-clad girls, or helping a couple of loser-types get through another dateless evening in their apartment.

There's a new beer, brewed in Orlando, FL, whose creators are looking to sell their product a different way. "Unlike other beers, there's no women cat-fighting in our ads, no sexy twins or cheesy underwear," says Andy Teubner, sales vice president for the company.

I guess you don't have to do a lot with the visuals when the name of your product is Bootie Beer. It sort of sells the cheesy idea all by itself.

The radio ads say things like "Bootie and beer, one great combination," and "Hey bootie, bootie." Clever stuff, huh?

The slang word "bootie" has its own connotations that were arrived at well before it became a brand name.

"To one person, it means having sex," says Bootie President Tania Torruella. "To another, it means going to the club and getting loose. To a third, it's having a sophisticated dinner with dad."

I think she's kidding us with that last definition. Nevertheless, she and her partners are spending several million on regional ad campaigns for their product. How are they doing so far? Targeting 21- to 29-year-old male buyers who make a "grab and go" purchase before a party or a sporting event, Bootie Beer sold out its entire production run in its first 10 days.

Life is not all fun and games for Torruella. According to a story in the Orlando Business Journal, she was fired from her previous job as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch & Co. "In July 2003," the newspaper reported, "the firm was fined $900,000 by the New York Stock Exchange for failing to supervise Torruella, who was charged with making unauthorized trades for about 550 clients during an 18-month period. The company paid more than $28 million in settlements to 200 of her clients, and Torruella was permanently barred from the securities industry."

Torruella says working in the alcoholic beverage industry was a natural change of direction for her.

"My family makes Don Q Rum in Puerto Rico. One branch wanted to get into the beer business, so that's what I did."

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