Moa Beer: Investing to please and anger

Moa Beer: Investing to please and anger

moa beer ipo prospectus sexismMoa Beer seems to be self-selecting for investors who like the current marketing strategy so shareholders won't get mad when they do outrageous things in future. With decent beer and a dose of shamelessness – not a bad niche – it'll probably wind up doing pretty well for itself.

I love Amihai Glazer's little model claiming that voters are motivated by the desire to anger or please others through their vote. The model explains a few anomalies that are otherwise hard to explain, like that voters pay more attention to national election contests than local ones even though the probability of decisiveness in the latter more than makes up for the smaller stakes.

Expressiveness considerations of this sort should not matter in investment markets; expressiveness there gets expensive. And yet we have ethical investment funds for investors who care about that sort of thing. And, yet we have this one.

Moa Beer has been carving out a little niche in getting free publicity by being outrageously blokeishly offensive. When Wellington proposed putting up a Wellywood sign (tacky in the extreme), Moa promised a beer bounty to anybody who knocked it over. They sponsored the Great Easter Bunny Hunt. Gay rights groups haven't been pleased with some of their marketing campaigns. And they've been a bit cute around ASA guidelines regarding swearing in ads. And the Pakistani cricket team isn't pleased either.

Moa's now heading for IPO. Here's the prospectus. If you're running an investments course, this is one to keep on file. They've advertising for Beretta shotguns inside the prospectus, among other things. The Herald has some highlights:

The 132 page blurb channels a mix of the Mad Men TV series and up-market men's magazine FHM, featuring black and white shots of Moa's all-male board and management striking macho poses in sharply cut suits, while attractive women in black skirts, white blouses and ties fondle cigars and bottles of Moa. A section headlined "Investment Highlights" appears beside one such full page photograph, while in another, Moa general manager Gareth Hughes taps out a cigar into an ashtray a model is holding above her head. Advertisements in the prospectus include plugs for Aston Martin sports cars and Beretta rifles, while a naked woman on a horse promotes Ecoya scented candles, which Ross floated on the NZX in late 2010.

The prospectus seems designed for those who get expressive benefits from their investment decisions. So, then: will expressive bias against them in the IPO from those who are angered by their strategy be outweighed by expressive bias in their favour? I'm not considering investing. The University sends a hefty chunk of my pay cheque over to the NZ University Superfund for my retirement; I don't try picking stocks. But if you were a value investor, would you expect that expressive investors would unduly bid up the price, and so you'd be inclined to stay away, or would you expect that IPO-avoidance by ethical types would make this a nice play? I'd lean towards the former. (Not investment advice; I've only skimmed the prospectus; form your own judgments, etc.)

I expect that Moa will wind up doing well. Their beer is pretty decent and they're pretty shameless. That's not a bad niche. A small brand can afford to have half the world hate it so long as it gets a few people who love it. 

The most obvious model of what's going on is that they're trying to select for investors who like the current marketing strategy so the shareholders won't get mad when they do outrageous things in future. It'll be interesting to see what happens at IPO.

(Ed: For a spot of amusement, peruse the Moa-inspired #momentsofmanhood hashtag, if you haven't already.)

This post is syndicated from Sciblogs

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