Scarcity! When The Loot’s All Gone But You Must Go On, It’s Scarcity.

The title is much more effective if you start singing Tragedy by Bee Gees. And you are quite welcome since the song will likely stay in your mind for the better portion of the day! The good folks that brew and market beer for Saint Arnold Brewing Company have taught me a valuable lesson today. Saint Arnold is a local microbrew, and I am a huge fan of their products. Each year, they release “Divine Reserve” beers that are limited-edition and quite difficult to find. For several months, Saint Arnold has teased their customers with information about another limited-edition release for the Fall season – Saint Arnold Pumpkinator.

The release of the Pumpkinator was today, and it set off a frenzy by those hoping to get a taste of the beer. Calling different stores to see if they had any in stock resulted in the same-sounding weary and exasperated clerk answering the phone and stating before I could even utter a word, “We are out of Pumpkinator.” My wife attempted to call a few stores and one clerk laughed, “What is the deal with this pumpkin beer? Everyone is calling about it.”

Saint Arnold has a brewery in town and certainly a strong presence in local stores, but there are not mountains of advertising blasting the product. They have weekly tours, send out news bits through email once or twice a month and the company (and also the owner) posts through a Twitter feed. They have cultivated a rabid following, and their release of Pumpkinator is a testament to how well their strategy is working.

They are giving the customers what they want, but they sometimes make is very difficult for the customers to find what they want. It’s a tough balance act. The scarcity of Pumpkinator is driving interest and motivating people to drive all over the city in search of a single bottle of the brew. I find myself wondering, “How can I use scarcity to engage the players in my D&D campaign?” Perhaps I could do some things to create a similar sense of urgency to build up the players’ energy between and during gaming sessions. Continue reading “Scarcity! When The Loot’s All Gone But You Must Go On, It’s Scarcity.”