Blue Light: the Lazy Boy of beers

So what's the story?...

So what’s the story?

On April 2 Blue Light unveiled a campaign to help people find more free time by launching a movement for a new long weekend in June.

The tongue-in-cheek Time Liberation Front (TLF) was created by Labatt Breweries of Canada’s Blue Light with the help of Weber Shandwick and Ammirati Puris.

The TLF campaign features street level protests in Toronto and Ottawa designed to raise awareness of the lack of free time in people’s lives and has been gathering signatures on a petition for a new June statutory holiday that will be presented to the Ontario government later this spring.

Labatt has been spreading the TLF message via e-mail and faux grassroots efforts in conjunction with a mass media campaign, which launched with a Blue Light television ad during the Academy Awards March 25.

At the end of the Easter long weekend, close to 71,000 Ontario residents had signed the petition. By comparison, Rick Mercer and the 22 Minutes crew garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures when they petitioned Canadians to have Stockwell Day’s name changed to Doris Day.

Brian Kelcey, Press Secretary for Ontario Minister of Business and Cultural Services Norm Sterling says, ‘It’s certainly not something that has been presented to us in a serious way as of yet.’

When asked if it was serious about current endeavors, Labatt pointed out that while it is primarily an ad campaign, it does intend to petition the Ontario government with this sometime before June.

Who’s the target?

The endgame, according to Labatt Director of PR Bob Chant, ‘is to have an energized group of Blue Light drinkers.’ The program was designed to raise awareness of the Blue Light brand makeover which has undergone re-packaging and a re-design in the last six months.

The goal is to hit the 24- to 35-year-old demographic of male and female beer drinkers and plays off the fact that Ipsos-Reid studies show that Canadians want more free time.

Fair enough, but that hardly explains the disjointed TV spots that have been created in conjunction with the movement.

A jovial inhabitant of ‘Samedi Island’ tempts the work-weary Canadian by showing us just how great the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle is. The second,’TLF,’ is a mock 60 Minutes spot in which a member of the TLF rants about freeing up more time for everyone.

Both spots end with their respective players on floats in ticker tape parades celebrating the supposed Blue Light day of rest with a big bottle of Blue Light floating through the air.

As clever goes, this campaign is a bit of a grade three knee-slapper. And if the guy in the south Pacific was so happy on his island then what’s he doing in an Ontario parade?

Is there anything more annoying than a parade?

In the New World order, parades should be reserved for two occasions: Santa and war veterans. Not for sports champions, not for saints, not for racial, cultural or sexual orientation groups – and certainly not for a light beer.

That being said, sales of Blue Light are up half a share, and while Chant says it’s too early to tell what the full impact of the overall campaign will be on Blue Light sales, he is optimistic that we will see significant growth in coming months.

Which, to the brewery’s credit, says more about our citizenry than it does about Labatt.