Swashbuckling mini-movie embodies spirit of Keith’s

The Oland Brewery has enlisted Austin Powers to help flog its signature brew, Alexander Keith's Pale Ale, and to promote the June opening of its refurbished $4-million microbrewery in downtown Halifax. The brewer recently purchased all of the advertising time for...

The Oland Brewery has enlisted Austin Powers to help flog its signature brew, Alexander Keith’s Pale Ale, and to promote the June opening of its refurbished $4-million microbrewery in downtown Halifax.

The brewer recently purchased all of the advertising time for the Feb. 9 ATV (Atlantic Television network) premiere of Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, so that it could air a 14-minute Keith’s ‘mini-movie’, created by agency of record Corporate Communications Ltd. (CCL Group), in four separate instalments throughout the broadcast.

Set in Nova Scotia during the early 1800s, the long-format commercial chronicles the adventures of a handful of popular characters, like the Admiral and the rogue privateer Roger, who have been appearing in Keith’s commercials since 1993.

But the undeniable centrepiece of the ‘mini-movie’ is the admiral’s daughter, who journeys to Nova Scotia under the escort of Sir Stephen, a priggish British aristocrat. After visiting the Keith’s brewery, a thriving pub overflowing with Keith’s, cleavage and Celtic fiddlers, the daughter becomes captivated by the swashbuckling Roger, and the carousing Nova Scotian spirit he personifies.

‘If you look at the advertising, it’s really representing Nova Scotia good times. Anyone who has had experience with the Maritimes can truly relate to that,’ explains Mike Glover, president of the Oland Brewery, which is a unit of Toronto-based Labatt Breweries of Canada.

Viewers can also participate in a ‘Watch and Win’ contest that requires them to phone in and correctly identify the three new characters that appear in the commercial (and no, Ivana Drinkalot is not one of them).

Although the brewer is targeting the 19-24 audience by airing the ‘mini-movie’ during Austin Powers, the creative concept is markedly different from ads for brands such as Labatt Blue, which usually feature hip young people and contemporary music.

‘At a very basic level, I think [Keith's and Blue] are doing the same thing, but with different metaphors,’ explains Chester Goluch, creative director at CCL. ‘Keith’s is much more rooted in tradition – it’s a trans-generational brand.’

A number of 30- and 60-second spots will be assembled from the movie footage, and will run over the next year.


Client: The Oland Brewery

Agency: Corporate Communications Ltd. (CCL Group)

Creative Director: Chester Goluch

Writer: Chester Goluch

Art Director: Michael Scher

Media: Television

Media Planner: Phil Chant

Account Director: Larry MacEachern

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.