Beer promo taps into deep guy insight

Gift certificates have always been a popular choice for that awkward-to-buy-for relative. Now Labatt Breweries of Canada has made life even easier for the thoroughly lazy Christmas shopper by offering beer gift certificates online.

Gift certificates have always been a popular choice for that awkward-to-buy-for relative. Now Labatt Breweries of Canada has made life even easier for the thoroughly lazy Christmas shopper by offering beer gift certificates online.

The ‘Give the Gift of Beer’ promotion was launched on Dec. 3 in conjunction with the beer lovers’ Web site, beer.com.

When an online purchase is made, a certificate together with a personalized Christmas card will be sent to a loved one in Ontario. Gifts can be redeemed at any Beer Store in the province. Following the festive season, the promotion will continue indefinitely in the hope of making further sales throughout the year.

‘We launched this program at Christmas time because that is the peak gift-giving season, but in the future we hope people will make use of the service for other occasions, like Fathers’ Day,’ says Bob Chant, PR director at Toronto-based Labatt. Both parties plan to extend the promotion to other provinces in the near future.

Chant hopes it will boost sales of Labatt products at Christmas time and throughout the year. ‘This is about making purchasing simpler and more convenient,’ he says. ‘It was an opportunity for us to expand our offerings to customers at important times of the year.’

To Aidan Tracey, GM of beer.com, the promotion is simply about enabling people to buy beer online. ‘People often ask us if they can buy beer on the Web site so we wanted to fulfill that need. That became the genesis of the idea,’ he says. He also hopes that the launch of this new functional pillar will increase popularity of the site, which currently averages 250,000 unique visitors per month.

Tracey expects the certificates to have a place in corporate gift-giving as well as for personal celebratory events. ‘It’s a great way for a guy to say thank you to another guy with something that he is bound to like, whatever the occasion.’

Prior to launching the promotion, Beer.com carried out a survey which revealed that 43% of beer lovers are planning to spend up to $75 on their buddies, and that four out of 10 would prefer to receive a gift certificate this Christmas.

‘We intuitively knew that this was a good idea but it was nice to back it up by talking to consumers,’ says Tracey.

While many of Labatt’s consumers are reached through standard media services, Chant says the Internet is becoming an increasingly important media consideration. ‘The beer.com Web site is a great tool for reaching our core market,’ he says. In fact, the beer manufacturer already has an established relationship with beer.com, as the Web site carries out online extensions of its offline promotions and initiatives.

A print and radio campaign has been launched to support the promotion. Created by Palmer Jarvis DDB in Toronto, the three print ads, which are running in daily newspapers in Toronto, Ottawa and London from Dec. 5, feature a simple message to attract the beer-drinking mentality. One has the words: ‘Each beer comes lovingly wrapped in a bottle,’ the second ad reads: ‘When you give the gift of beer, you make a difference in the life of someone who wants beer,’ and the third message is: ‘It’s his Christmas wishes come true. Except for ‘threesome’ and ‘big bag of money.” Details of the promotion follow each message.

Two humorous 30-second radio spots entitled ‘Wine Drinkers’ and ‘Blah Blah’ were also created by Palmer Jarvis and launched on local radio stations in Ontario on Nov. 30.