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

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group