Following on from the recent spate of trademark bullying, with DB winning the rights to use the generic term “radler” and Fonterra now trying to claim “vintage”, Moa, which announced its slightly surprising sponsorship of the New Zealand Olympic team last week, recently received a letter from Jean-Luc Barnier, the chief guardian of the Champagne region, telling the brand to cease and desist on the use of the word champagne on its website. As you can imagine, this request went down well with the always well-behaved Moa team, who felt the letter was a particularly French way of going about things. So they sent Jean-Luc a uniquely Kiwi response: a lovely postcard of the Rainbow Warrior with the Te Reo equivalent of “fuck off” written on the back.
Major shareholder Geoff Ross firmly believes mediocrity is the most dangerous kind of marketing. No danger of that with Moa, because it is unashamedly—and seemingly quite successfully—following in the footsteps of 42 Below by creating a beer brand that uses PR as one of its main marketing weapons, has a sense of humour and covets controversy (you can see the similarities between Moa's response and that seen in the public retraction of a 42 Below ad that spoke ill of Absolut). Importantly—and, once again, like 42 Below—it also backs up the hype with a bloody good product.
In case you were wondering what hideous crimes Moa committed to warrant such a letter (read it here Champagne Cease and Desist), there were three mentions of the word champagne, twice as an explanation of the brewing technique of its Breakfast beer, which is bottle-fermented like champagne, and once in a quote from founder Josh Scott saying how people enjoying champagne at breakfast was an inspiration for its creation.