Molson gives beer drinkers something they can use

Agency/media company

Agency/media company

The Media Edge

Client

Molson

Brand

Canadian

Budget

$100,000 – $200,000

Media used

Newspaper

Timing

June through September, 2001

Media Team

Deborah Komlodi, director, media,

Molson Breweries

Jef Combdon, media group head,

The Media Edge

Lauren Sachs, art director, Toronto Sun

Penelope Wilde, editor/writer, Toronto Sun

The background

The Molson Canadian Long Weekend Survival Guides were born out of three key communications goals given for Molson and the Molson Canadian brand:

* Help reinforce Molson Canadian’s ‘Canadian pride’ positioning, specifically around Canada Day

* Provide a point of leverage and communications for all Molson and Molson Canadian sponsored events, promotions and associations

* Provide Molson Canadian with a platform that will allow the brand to break through the competitive clutter prior to key summer long weekends

Of the three outlined communication goals, each one posed its own unique challenge to be considered for media:

* Vehicles for Canadian pride must be youthful and relevant to a 19- to 24-year-old male beer drinker, while fitting in with the Molson Canadian brand image

* Molson and Molson Canadian are involved in numerous summer events, ranging from locally-sponsored food festivals to major international sporting events, each requiring some level of support and coverage

* Beer/alcohol advertising is traditionally heavy during summer periods leading up to each long weekend, making it more difficult to stand out from the other brands

The plan

Faced with the above challenges, a partnership was formed with the Toronto Sun to provide beer drinkers with something they could use. The idea was to create a series of long weekend guides that would be produced and published by the Sun solely for Molson Canadian. From the onset it was our desire not to produce a series of high impact supplements, but to jointly produce a series of pullout guides that provided a real value-add for the Sun’s readers.

The Toronto Sun produced three Long Weekend Survival Guides, one for each of the key summer long weekends (Canada Day, Civic Day, Labour Day) and distributed them in the Thursday issue of the paper a week prior to each weekend. The guides were also distributed at local events before each weekend and at Cineplex Odeon theatres in conjunction with an onscreen campaign Molson Canadian was running.

As Canada Day was a priority for the brand, the first of the three guides was 12 pages in length, with the remaining two guides being eight pages each. In addition to producing these guides, the Sun pre-promoted each guide heavily within the paper and via special box cards prior to each of the guides’ drop dates.

From an editorial perspective, the Sun was briefed on the key aspects of Canadian pride that are relevant to our consumer. With this information, the Sun prepared Canadian pride-related editorial that ran in each of the three guides. Following this editorial was coverage on other topics relevant to our demo, such as mountain biking, camping, getting out in the city and most importantly, upcoming event information.

Through these guides, Molson received page after page (all pages were branded) of coverage for key Molson sponsored events, although coverage was not limited to their events. This included The Molson Canadian Big Birthday Parties for Canada Day, the Molson Indy and Molson Canadian Snow Jam (a two-day action sports/music festival that was held at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto), as well as a complete concert listing for Toronto’s Molson Amphitheater. In addition to these and numerous other local Molson sales-sponsored events, details on the upcoming seasons for the Leafs and Raptors were included, as well as editorial on other Molson partners.

To add real take-away value for each of the guides, the center spread position was occupied by a complete listing/map of all the Ontario Beer Store locations overlaid with key Ontario campgrounds.

The results

Overall, the Molson Canadian brand had a very strong summer with sales, brand and ad awareness continuing to grow. Each of the events highlighted in the guides recorded strong attendance levels, some breaking previous year’s records. The series of Long Weekend Survival Guides were very well received and provided the Molson sales and event teams with value-add for their programs and sponsorships.

The guides proved to be an excellent example of how it is possible to bridge both editorial and advertising to deliver a common goal between the media supplier and the client – without compromising the integrity of the communications.

Judges’ verdict

‘Excellent use of newspaper as an extended communication tool. Great impact execution with good extension and tie-in to brand, event, summer icons and partner media.’
‘This newspaper component germinates an execution that truly integrates on all levels – right down to branded events/promotions and retail purchase. Fully branded, relevant (and useful) content development. Extremely strong links to the identity of the brand. The medium and message truly merge in an initiative that actually creates, as well as fulfills, a consumer need. Fantastic!’
‘This submission was an excellent use of newspaper. The choice of the Toronto Sun distribution illustrated a good understanding of the target group and how to reach it. By developing a unique and informative piece, this plan demonstrated that Molson was able to connect with its consumers in a very meaningful way.’