Canadian Club has begun rolling out a new ad campaign and its spokesperson, a burly middle-aged man who enjoys steak, hunting and his own chest hair, makes no secret about who the target audience is: young, male beer drinkers.
According to Rob Tucker, senior brand manager for Canadian, American and Irish Whiskies at BEAM Canada, the “Join the Club” campaign calls upon “guys who are on the brink of becoming men” to hand over their preference for beer and replace it with Canadian Club whisky. “These guys are ready for that next stage in their life,” said Tucker. “Ordering a beer is not really appropriate anymore.”
Tucker noted that there are certain environments in which it is no longer standard for young men to drink beer, and that this campaign will encourage them to switch to whisky when out for dinner with colleagues or in other professional settings. “Beer is not always the right choice,” said Tucker. “Whether they know it or not, our target needs to be prepared to step up in certain social occasions.”
Throughout the campaign’s two 30-second and two 15-second spots, the Canadian Club chairman (the brand’s new spokesperson) offers nuggets of “whisky wisdom” to the younger generation. Among them: “Never send beer to do a whisky’s job,” “Every shirt is a muscle shirt” and “Drafts are best suited for fantasy football.”
“The uber-male really seems to resonate in the Canadian whisky category,” said Tucker, who added that crossover in the beer and whisky markets creates the possibility for a successful campaign.
Tucker said young consumers would be more inclined to accept “whisky wisdoms” from an older spokesperson than someone their own age. “If you’re going to be someone who can credibly pass on this wisdom, you have to have proven the fact that you have a lot of experience in your life and have therefore earned the right to pass this on to young Canadian beer drinkers.”
“Join the Club” was executed by New York-based Brooklyn Brothers, and will feature digital segments and TV spots on specialty networks such as TSN, Sportsnet, The Comedy Network and NBA TV, as well as a strong social media push. Tucker said consumers can engage further in the club by liking the campaign on Facebook and receiving exclusive offers and event invitations there. The campaign will also have a retail presence in liquor stores across Canada, and in three small American test markets (Michigan, Missouri and DC).
“We’re celebrating guys on their ongoing quest for wisdom,” said Tucker. “That helps embody where we’re trying to take the brand.”