Molson, Roots create patriotism team

Molson Canadian and Roots Canada banded together to ask: 'How much more Canadian can you get?' They're giving away 'I AM Canadian' watches, Roots vests and wallets in a scratch-and-win contest across Ontario. By the end of the promotion, 240,000 people could be wearing the gear.

Molson Canadian and Roots Canada banded together to ask: ‘How much more Canadian can you get?’ They’re giving away ‘I AM Canadian’ watches, Roots vests and wallets in a scratch-and-win contest across Ontario. By the end of the promotion, 240,000 people could be wearing the gear.

Andrew Barrett, VP of marketing for Molson, says Molson partnered with Roots more than a year ago because both brands are relevant to their target demographic of 19- to 29-year-old males. Also, the union made sense because both are homegrown Canadian companies.

Jennifer Cornwell, director of marketing for Roots Canada, says while Roots’ target demographic is the 25- to 40-year-old range, partnering with Molson was a good way to focus on the younger side of its demo, to capture the ‘youth and energy’ Molson has to offer.

Since June 15 Ontarians have received a scratch ticket from specially marked 24 cases of Molson Canadian. Odds are one in five of winning a watch with the ‘I AM Canadian’ logo emblazoned on the face, or a Roots fleece vest and leather wallet with both company logos on them. There are more than one-million scratch cards being distributed.

The promotional relationship between Roots and Molson started in February 2000 when Roots toques were placed in selected cases of Molson Canadian. The toques were subsequently sold in Roots stores because of high demand after the promo ended. The following June, Molson aired their famous ‘Rant’ commercial. Roots paired with Molson again to sell ‘Rant’ T-shirts in their stores last summer.

For the current promotion, Toronto’s Encore Strategic Marketing created a 15-second television spot called ‘Beaver.’ It airs as a stand-alone and at the end of the new Molson Canadian television advertisement, ‘Anthem,’ created by agency Bensimon*Byrne D’Arcy. ‘Beaver’ opens with, you guessed it, a beaver – Roots’ symbol – chewing on a hockey stick. The voiceover slogan says, ‘How much more Canadian can you get?’ and is followed by shots of the prizes being offered.

Timing is the key to the promotion. It began mid June leading up to July 1, ‘the biggest day of the year for Molson,’ according to Barrett. Canada Day is also the day of Molson’s ‘Big Birthday’ bash – a 10-city concert featuring Canadian bands.

Even though ‘I AM Canadian’ merchandise is popular among customers and sold year-round, the novelty apparently has not yet worn off. Raymond Perkins, director of communications for Roots, says the promotion has also helped create more traffic into Roots stores since winners of the contest can pick up their gear there. The stores, bathed in red and white in preparation for Canada Day, with the patriotism-inspiring song from ‘Anthem’ being played, reinforced the importance of the time of year.

Jennifer Cornwell says the objective is two-fold: to attract people who’ve never shopped at Roots; and to give winners an incentive to buy – an additional 10% discount.

Barrett says sales of Molson Canadian increased significantly with the relaunch of the ‘I AM Canadian’ campaign last spring and a key component was the purchase-interest promotions, which, it was discovered in post-promo tracking, did well in motivating consumers. He estimates the campaign garnered up to one share point – roughly $15 million – widening the gap versus their main competitor Labatt Blue.

This year, Labatt Breweries is giving away Canada Day T-shirts in 12 cases of Blue and Blue Light, and hats in all Budweiser/Budweiser Light 12 packs.

Labatt’s ‘Free Your Time’ campaign has focused attention on the joy of the long weekend, though it wasn’t specifically related to Canada Day.

Labatt PR director Bob Chant says Labatt’s primary objective is to focus and develop the marketing of each of its brands and go from there. But, he says, ‘Competitive activity is one element of any strategic plan.’