NEW YORK, NY – This morning we received a phone call from the Cleveland Browns legal department, asking us to remove all mention of our self-made ‘victory fridge’ from all social media channels as we featured a beer that was not an official advertiser of the organization, in conjunction with Browns’ logos.
As the story goes, Bud Light and the Cleveland Browns thought it a wise marketing effort to design ‘victory fridges’ which some have argued capitalizes on the despair and heartache of Browns fans, adding fuel to the fire that is our existence in football futility.
The concept was simple: if the Cleveland Browns ever win a game, these fridges would unlock, allowing thirsty Browns fans to celebrate with free beer, as if to miraculously quench the last 632 days we’ve spent since the Browns last won a football game.
Let it be known, that as upstanding members of the Browns Backers’ community, the Big Apple Browns Backers of NYC have obliged and wiped clean our digital history and want to apologize if we have offended the commercial folks over in Berea.
Despite what many thought to be a questionable marketing concept from Bud Light, team officials embraced the opportunity, with Browns chief operating officer Dave Jenkins stating,
“Obviously, we are nowhere near satisfied with our win totals in recent seasons, and our fans deserve much better. While some may characterize it as celebrating one victory, we view this as an opportunity to thank Browns fans for their unwavering support while also looking forward to our goal of rewarding Cleveland with a consistently winning football team.”
Within minutes of ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell breaking the original Bud Light story, we were inundated with inquires from our dedicated Big Apple Browns Backers members, asking us to contact Bud Light in hopes of getting our own fridge. Upon request, we were informed by our local Bud Light distributor that the fridges would not be made available to any bars outside of Cleveland. Fair enough.
As one of the largest Browns Backers chapters in the entire country, known to draw crowds of 200-400 rabid CLE fans any given Sunday, we were clearly discouraged by their decision. In an attempt to reward our members for their unwavering support we decided to make our own victory fridge, filled with bottles of champagne, cinnamon-flavored whiskey and lots of a beer that-is-not-to-be-named.
Sadly, the Cleveland Browns and Bud Light did not share our enthusiasm, and called with a stern cease-and-desist request because we placed decals on our fridge that used the Cleveland Browns logo and word-mark, which are not allowed to be associated with a non-paying team advertiser, given the established Cleveland Browns Backers Bylaws.
We get it and we’ve fixed it. Clearly it wasn’t our intention to get anyone in trouble here.
Over the last 7 seasons, we have grown our chapter into one of the most dedicated & diehard the Browns Backers Worldwide have to offer. Our members show up every Sunday, loss after loss, taking time out of their busy lives to support a team that continuously lets them down every single week.
Over that same time period, the Cleveland Browns have embarrassed their fan-base, going 24-78 (.235), becoming just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16, and are SO bad that their official beer sponsor thought it would be justifiable to celebrate that losing-effort with a marketing gimmick.
Cleveland Browns, we hear you loud and clear. Noted, acknowledged and remedied. Call off the lawyers — we need to save those legal fees for half-priced wings and $12 pitchers of not-Bud Light.
Note: Fox 8 Cleveland covered our win fridge saga on the Sep 18th evening news. Video below.