Billboards are us

The latest addition to James Brewery's 'Help us help you' campaign (launched last year) headed outdoors this spring. With the premise that James Ready could ill afford billboards, consumer engagement was driven through its website with the tagline 'Help Us Keep This Beer a Buck and Share

The latest addition to James Brewery’s ‘Help us help you’ campaign (launched last year) headed outdoors this spring. With the premise that James Ready could ill afford billboards, consumer engagement was driven through its website with the tagline ‘Help Us Keep This Beer a Buck and Share This Billboard.’

Leo Burnett created the campaign to help reinforce the notion that James Ready beer can be sold for a buck because the company doesn’t spend its money on expensive advertising.

Almost 300 billboards have been submitted since mid-April, many of which were up across Ontario until last month.

‘Once people saw all these billboards, they went crazy,’ says Sean Barlow, creative group head, Leo Burnett. Consumers submitted billboards featuring hats, glasses, telephones and clothes made out of James Ready’s labels, caps and cases. The billboards were also used by consumers for their own advertising, like CD release and party announcements. One consumer even used the space to sell his truck online.

‘We never wanted it to turn into a James Ready love-in,’ explains Barlow. ‘We wanted people to have the space and share it in the hopes that we can save a little money; do them a favor and they do us a favor.’

The campaign has helped develop a relationship with consumers that Barlow likens to a ‘cult-like’ following. ‘There’s this crazy dialogue between beer drinkers and us,’ he says. Past campaigns have urged consumers to donate old items for use in promo giveaways or offered ‘one cent off’ coupons that expire in June 1982 (some of which were actually sent in). A Facebook group has even been created by one fan.

The brand’s mantra has found affinity with cash-strapped students. Its next campaign is expected to head to campuses this fall.

www.jamesready.com