Monday, September 1, 2008

The Right Stuff.

I spent some time with Fred Noe recently, while he was here in Chicago for some promotional appearances. I already told you about our rye balls discussion.

Fred was in town to promote a couple of different items, including Beam’s "Here's To The Stuff Inside" PR campaign. (I told you about it back in May, when they launched it.) Because we were just talking, I didn’t invite the whole PR onslaught, but I was curious to know what, in that campaign, had made a personal impression on him, as it covers a lot of ground.

We talked briefly about their chiming in to preserve the name of Wrigley Field, which may make more sense when you understand that Beam is as much a Chicago company as it is a Kentucky one. The distilleries are there but the corporate offices, along with sales and marketing, have been here in Chicago since the end of Prohibition, originally downtown, now in Deerfield.

But clearly what has touched Fred the most is Operation Homefront. "It’s a great thing, people doing the right things for the right reasons," said Fred. Operation Homefront helps American military families with emergency assistance, especially with needs that might otherwise fall through the cracks. "Some family needs a water heater," said Fred, "they get it for them."

Operation Homefront also provides food, baby care, car repairs, financial assistance, and computers to the families of our troops. It’s an authentic grassroots movement of more than 4,000 volunteers.

One way Beam has raised money for Operation Homefront is through the sale of Jim Beam in special commemorative bottles. Fred was thrilled to present them a check for $250,000, and at the Indy 500 no less. “There are lots of organizations, but this one really gets it done,” he said.

No doubt Fred Noe has an unusual job, but I can see that he really likes being able to represent the company that way. As he says, people doing the right things for the right reasons. If that leads you to believe they probably make their whiskey the same way, so be it.

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