Sep 8, 2008

[Philippines] Oktoberfest Ridiculousness

{{de|Oktoberfest München (Bierzelt)}}Image via Wikipedia Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a 16-day celebration in Munich, Bravia, Germany that starts at around the tail-end of September and ends around the first Sunday of October. It's touted as the the world's largest fair with at least 6 million people attending annually and of course lagers upon lagers of beer served.

Naturally, many countries, including the Philippines, have copied this particular celebration and instead of the traditionally darker beers we tend to market the paler ones. Also instead of this being a celebration of several key beer makers in the country, it really is just the celebration of one brewery - that being the San Miguel Corporation.

While I don't mind the artistic license that generally goes into the country-specific Oktoberfest celebrations around the world, what they're trying to do this year is just outright ridiculous.

This year, San Miguel's cheap gimmick for celebrating Oktoberfest involves somehow trying to set new records. Locally we've always celebrated Oktoberfest in, well, October for lack of originality. I guess it's always made it easier to remember. This year Oktoberfest has been officially started as of September 5, 2008, which is a pretty early date. Why the shift?

It seems that San Miguel wants to push the limits of our alcohol-drinking ability and at the same time our ability to discern a cheap marketing idea when we see one. They're calling this year's event as "Oktoberfest 120" in an attempt to host the longest Oktoberfest celebration in the world given it's going to span 120 days. WTF?

120 days of Oktoberfest - am I the only one seeing something wrong with this picture?

At the same time, they're trying to pull the "we want a Guiness record" shtick by claiming they want to use this event to win in two categories: most number of people toasting and the longest beer bar. Riiight.

I have nothing against Oktoberfest in itself nor do I have anything against wanton consumption of alcohol in a festival setting - I am a gay man who hits the club scene after all and I've had my fair share of alcohol-colored evenings. What irks me is that we're dragging the Oktoberfest concept through the mud this year for no good reason.

Let's face it - this is laziness on the part of the marketing group of San Migue; Instead of trying to think of new event concepts of themes month after month, they've decided to just extend the most popular one, this being Oktoberfest) and having it span their entire third trimester. This sucker is going to come up against Christmas for pete's sake and I don't know if this truly means we're celebrating one continuous event for 4 months straight.

It's tacky and unoriginal and it just shows how we can't even come up with our own celebrations so we end up mutilating an internationally acclaimed beer celebration and turning it into a party that doesn't know when to end and goes on for far too long. I'm pretty sure that before the month of October is over, we're all going to be sick of hearing he term Oktoberfest and will shudder at the thought that we still have 2 more months of this foolishness.

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