How Cannes inspired Molson’s latest campaign

February 04, 2013  |  Kristin Laird  |  Comments

Molson Canadian is moving its focus from the country’s land to its people with the latest marketing campaign developed by Rethink and inspired by Cannes.

“The Canadians” platform launched with a 90-second YouTube video on Super Bowl Sunday. The spot is made up of vignettes showing people from various parts of the world telling their friends about fun encounters with Canadians.

A character in Dublin, for example, explains to her friend how poorly a Canadian sang at karaoke and yet, “everyone loved her. They couldn’t stop cheering for her.”

Aaron Starkman, a partner at Rethink’s Toronto office told Marketing the concept was inspired by his experience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“It had nothing to do with great work from around the world, but the reputation that Canadians had in Cannes and, for that matter, anywhere,” he said. “People would be saying, ‘Oh did you meet that guy from last night? He was Canadian.’”

“It seemed to be a natural fit, and also it seems that as Canadians we tend not to pump ourselves up, it feels wrong,” added Starkman. “But it seems we’re more than okay with other people talking about our virtues and strengths.”

One scene shows two girls about to kiss when the camera cuts away. The shot sparked a little debate on Twitter. One Toronto copywriter said “New Molson Canadian ad from rethink. Insight based, yes, but the girls kissing in the pool just cheapens it, no?”

When asked if the shot was insight-based or gratuitous, Starkman pointed to the most-liked comment on the brand’s YouTube page (see right).

“You know what makes me really proud?” wrote David Driver. “The fact that a major company like Molson can produce an add [sic] with two girls almost kissing and we don’t have the religious right threatening boycotts or other juvenile antics. Way to go Canada!”

“There’s 47 likes on that guys comment,” said Starkman. “I think that says something.”

Dave Bigioni, senior director of marketing for Molson Coors Canada, said “The Canadians” is an evolution of the brand’s “Made From Canada” marketing platform that launched in 2010, and celebrates how the land intimately connects Canadians. “Made from Canada” worked well, he said, but the new work is “targeted more to millennial drinkers and engaging them and celebrating them and the impact they make and how Canadians leave a mark.”

Molson posted the spot on its YouTube page this past Sunday to leverage the site’s popularity on a high-traffic day, said Bigioni.

The 90-second version has been cut into 15s, 30s and 60s television commercials and will debut nationally starting Feb. 11.

The campaign, which wraps up mid May, also includes digital advertising, an Instagram component and on-premise materials.

MediaEdge handled the buy.

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