Labatt navigates through ‘uncharted waters’ with alcopop

So what's the story?
It's often hard enough to pick up one cutie at the bar, but with Labatt's new Pur Source, you could double your luck. At least that's the implication of a summer transit and billboard campaign in Toronto, Ottawa and London, which appears to have drawn consumers to the alcopop like kids to candy.

So what’s the story?

It’s often hard enough to pick up one cutie at the bar, but with Labatt’s new Pur Source, you could double your luck. At least that’s the implication of a summer transit and billboard campaign in Toronto, Ottawa and London, which appears to have drawn consumers to the alcopop like kids to candy.

Aimed at beer drinkers who occasionally crave a change, the first instalment in the ad effort from Toronto-based agency Mosaic simply depicts the transparent bottle with a ripple of water in the background. ‘It’s the only cooler that has a clear liquid so you can see right through it,’ explains John Verdon, innovation manager at Labatt. ‘It’s all geared at getting across the idea of refreshment.’

The other two executions for the vodka cooler, which originated in Europe, are far more playful. One has two women cosying up to a rather plain-looking guy. (He doesn’t look like the type to be able to attract a pair of pretty gals in one night, but anything’s possible where booze is involved.) The second is a close-up of a striking woman being kissed on the cheek by two hunks, one on each side. The tagline is ‘uncharted waters.’

What is that supposed to mean?

‘People can read into it whatever they want,’ but Verdon says the line ‘uncharted waters’ is meant to reflect that the cooler is novel to the marketplace, as it’s the first spring water-based drink of its kind.

‘[The campaign's personality] is men and women having a good time,’ explains Verdon. ‘Basically we put our targets on billboards having fun. It’s not much more complicated than that, given that the brand is early in its life cycle.’ (Actually, I believe things could get complicated in such a scenario. Not that I would know.)

Verdon adds that the goal was to ‘get people to recognize the brand and find it appealing.’

Have consumers found it

appealing?

Pur Source was first test marketed in Atlantic Canada and Alberta in March. It performed so well that it was introduced in Ontario last June, which wasn’t the plan initially. ‘We’re exceeding our targets wildly,’ says Verdon. ‘We’re selling all that we can make and there have been numerous stock out situations, which is not something we like, but early on we were surprised by the demand.’ (Obviously, Ontarians aren’t so prudish after all.)

Verdon, who says results have been impressive considering the increasingly crowded alcopop category, attributes Pur Source’s potency to two things: breakthrough, edgy packaging from Toronto-based Shikatani Lacroix Design that reinforces the ‘refreshing feel’ of the beverage, and Labatt’s ability to acquire significant distribution points at retail. And surely, the ad images must also be stirring consumer…curiosity.

Verdon reports that expansion across Canada and into the U.S. is being considered and a ‘much more robust’ multi-channel media campaign is likely for next year. Can’t wait to see those juicy TV spots.