Ice beer scores in game

Molson O'Keefe used the Montreal Canadiens-Quebec Nordiques hockey rivalry to create unprecedented awareness for the launch of its Black Ice beer in Quebec, says the company's top executive.Andre Tranchemontagne, president of the Quebec division of Molson O'Keefe, says using the game...

Molson O’Keefe used the Montreal Canadiens-Quebec Nordiques hockey rivalry to create unprecedented awareness for the launch of its Black Ice beer in Quebec, says the company’s top executive.

Andre Tranchemontagne, president of the Quebec division of Molson O’Keefe, says using the game meant 50% of Quebec’s population was the aware of the new product.

TV spots for the Black Ice launch were shot in black and white and ran after replays of penalties – also shown in black and white.

Since infractions bringing penalties are not usually shown on tv, the eight 15-second commercials actually gave viewers a bit more of the game, Tranchemontagne says.

Rumors that some viewers of the April 5 game were annoyed by the black-and-white photography are unfounded, he says.

He says the Black Ice spots were a one-off.

Promotions

According to Tranchemontagne, Montreal Canadiens hockey is a Molson Export property and advertising for that brand, replaced for one night by Black Ice ads, is back in its usual slot.

Other promotions for the Black Ice launch was the beer’s label painted on the Montreal Forum ice, a giant label outside the arena, coupons and samples for fans of legal drinking age.

Molson owns the Canadiens. Its O’Keefe unit used to own the Nordiques until the team was sold to Marcel Aubut and others.

To alert consumers to the Black Ice launch, Molson O’Keefe used ads in La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal, Tranchemontagne says.

Awareness of the new beer was no doubt helped by the popularity of Black Label in Quebec, he says.

A couple of years ago, the Black Label brand was given a jolt in selected markets with a hip, moody campaign done in black and white.

The agency for the Black Ice ads was Montreal’s BCP Strategy-Creativity. DC