Labatt launches in-house social agency

The brewer is bringing Draftline to Canada, partnering with Twitter to build 'a creative engine powered by data and technology.'
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Labatt Breweries of Canada has revealed its plans to bring an in-house agency north of the border, with a focus on using social data to make personalized, real-time digital content.

Last week, Labatt parent company AB InBev formally revealed Draftline, an internal creative team it had been quietly developing over the last year in the U.S. It had started as an in-house social and digital agency working exclusively on the Michelob Ultra brand, but has grown to work across its entire U.S. brand portfolio on multiple creative and media disciplines. Marcel Marcondes, CMO for AB InBev in the U.S., told AdAge that the brewing giant was treating Draftline like any of the other agencies on its roster, meaning it has to pitch for projects alongside any other shops invited.

Draftline is set to operate somewhat differently in Canada. It will be creating content for social and digital platforms across the full brand portfolio, but Labatt is also partnering with Twitter Canada, getting access to social data and tools and having at least one person from the social media company’s team working within Draftline. Todd Allen, VP of marketing at Labatt, says this is going to help the brewer create content that is personalized and more effectively taps into real-time trends and fresh insights.

“Draftline is going to be an in-house creative engine powered by data and technology, with the ultimate goal of moving it to the speed of popular culture,” he says. “Twitter is the leader in up-to-the-minute social data and conversations, whether it’s breaking news or entertainment or sports or politics. Getting that data and insights from them is going to help us make content that’s rooted in culture and relevant to our consumers.”

Allen says the agency will be providing services that are “complementary” to the work done by its agency partners, instead of replacing it, adding that Draftline will be working on brands in its portfolio that currently do not have an AOR. Labatt’s brands in Canada include Labatt, Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, Mill St., Modelo and Alexander Keith’s, among many others.

Allen says Labatt is now in recruitment mode for Draftline in Canada, but hopes to scale “very quickly” and have it up and running by Q3 of this year.