Labatt CD giveaway in tune with brand i.d.

In an effort to make as much noise as possible in a highly competitive beer marketplace, Labatt Breweries of Canada gave away 300,000 hard rock compact discs last summer with the purchase of Labatt Genuine Draft.Included in cases of 24 bottles...

In an effort to make as much noise as possible in a highly competitive beer marketplace, Labatt Breweries of Canada gave away 300,000 hard rock compact discs last summer with the purchase of Labatt Genuine Draft.

Included in cases of 24 bottles in Ontario, or 15-can bonus packs in Western Canada was a single-play cd by one of Lee Aaron, Bootsauce, Sven Gali, Junkhouse or Headstones – all up-and-coming Canadian hard rock talent.

Extra prizes

All of the cds featured a new release, and one in 60 – 5,000 cds in total – contained a verbal message informing the consumer that he or she was the winner of a full-length cd, with an approximate retail value of $18, from one of the five participating bands.

As well, the cd singles could be redeemed for a $2 rebate on the purchase of a full-length compact disc by any one of the five artists.

Brand logo

Each cd sleeve featured the bands’ cover artwork, a Labatt Genuine Draft logo and a graphic indicating the Labatt Genuine Draft cd number. Each disc was also printed with a custom design.

Five music labels were involved in the promotion: A&M Records, BMG Music Canada, MCA Records, Polygram Records and Sony Special Music Products.

The budget for the giveaway was about $2 million.

The promotion, which took place from the end of June to the end of July, was supported with a national radio and television campaign, created by Labatt agency-of-record Ammirati & Puris, plus point-of-sale displays in beer stores by Marketing & Promotion Group.

Both are Toronto-based firms.

The cd giveaway was conceived by the Genuine Draft brand group, and executed by Echo Advertising, also based in Toronto.

Paul Smith, director of public relations for the brewery, says the cd promotion worked on several levels.

Smith says it provided an added-value opportunity to consumers, it supported the image of the Labatt Genuine Draft brand, and it drove case sales in an intensely competitive summer marketplace – a marketplace made that much noisier with the media-heavy introduction of Molson Breweries’ Red Dog.

Further, he says, rock music has long been one of the vehicles the brewery has used to support Genuine Draft – the beer is often the title sponsor of rock concerts and various music promotions – so it fit within the overall brand strategy.

High perceived value

Asked why Labatt decided on cds as a giveaway, Smith says they have a high perceived value by the consumer, yet are relatively inexpensive to mass produce, and, therefore, fit within guidelines set out by provincial liquor control boards governing the use of promotional items by breweries.

[Breweries are prohibited by government regulation from giving away anything worth more than $2 in a case of beer.]

‘Unusual premium’

‘The cd is an unusual premium, it had never been done before, and it’s got high perceived value,’ Smith says. ‘People think it’s a neat and unusual item to find in a case of beer.’

He says Labatt Genuine Draft attracts a good mix of drinkers, but describes the beer’s primary target group as young males, generally 19-25, who have grown up with the brand since its introduction to the marketplace in March 1992.

Genuine Draft drinkers are ‘people who are into a good time – not necessarily focussed on their career, but more interested in Friday night, when it’s time to break out and have some fun.

‘People who appreciate rock and roll, and have a good sense of the newer music are the ones who will find the brand interesting,’ Smith says.

He says the bands chosen for this promotion are particularly relevant because they would appeal to ‘the person who is finishing his work week on a Friday night and just wants to head out with friends to a party.

‘This is the kind of music they would flip on on the stereo.’

While he is reluctant to discuss specific results, for competitive reasons, Smith says the promotion helped the brewery meet its twin objectives of increasing case sales and reinforcing the beer’s image as one appealing to the hard rock crowd.

Asked whether Labatt would consider another cd giveaway, Smith says, certainly, but he would not want to tip the brewer’s hand by revealing next year’s plans.