Brick Brewing founder gets down and dirty (well, wet actually) in ad campaign

So what's the story?

So what’s the story?

Recently in Toronto, drivers were greeted by a half-naked, middle-aged guy drenched in suds, thanks to an ad on the backside of city buses. Jim Brickman, president and founder of Waterloo, Ont.-based Brick Brewing, starred in his own transit campaign in June, à la Dave Thomas. With his graying hair and full moustache, Brickman could pass for your typical cheesy uncle, the kind that laughs boisterously at his own corny jokes at family reunions.

The other execution consisted of a head-and-shoulder shot of the president, complete with beer foam dripping from his moustache. Both executions are in mockery of the Drink Milk, Love Life campaign. The tagline is: ‘Love beer, drink Brick.’

‘Brick Brewery has been around for 17 years, but the unaided and even aided awareness of Brick is still relatively low,’ says Kevin Meens, who was one of the founders of Guelph, Ont.-based Sleeman Breweries and is now EVP of marketing at Brick. ‘Jim was a real trooper the day we shot [the ads]. We had him lying down and it took a good hour of just soaking his back with beer.’

That should whet the appetite for a cold one.

Why not feature someone young and beautiful in the ads instead? Meens explains: ‘The goal was to present him to the public, relate him to someone who is interested and has a passion for beer, while at the same time promoting his own brand and the beer-drinking experience.’

The transit was bolstered by two radio spots: the first hyped Brick’s return to the stubby bottle for its Red Cap label, while the second starred Brickman in banter with another character named Mark.

Mark asks Brickman about the transit creative. He says, ‘You’ve been soaked with beer,’ to which Brickman replies, ‘There are pictures.’ In the end, Mark tries to get Brickman to admit his faves brew is Brick Amber, but Brickman concedes only that his ‘favourite beer is the next Brick beer.’

What’s the demo?

- middle-aged men?

It’s more about psychographics, says Meens, who adds that while craft beer drinkers tend to be 25 years or older, they also encompass university students who prefer to down a couple of higher-end brewskies, as opposed to the regular Molson Canadians and Labatt’s Blues. ‘The target group for all craft beers is somebody looking for a point of difference, someone who appreciates the production value and is looking for something more international in taste.’

The campaign is part of a five-year rollout, and if all goes well, Brickman will pop up in more ads down the road (or should we say on the road?).

Says Meens: ‘We will continue with the strategy of having Jim talk about his products, but we’ll cut back on radio and stick with the visual medium.’ Great news for Toronto commuters.