Sleeman brews infamy

A new campaign links the beer co to piracy, smuggling and Al Capone.

Sleeman is known as a reputable brewery, but now it’s also notoriously associated with piracy, smuggling, philandering and even Al Capone.
A new campaign developed by Toronto-based Dentsu, with media handled by Carat, has lifted the veil on the Sleeman family history. A 60-second spot, part of Sleeman’s first national TV campaign in five years, chronicles the rich heritage, starting with the pirates Slyman, who scuttled ships off the coast of Cornwall, England. Changing their name to Sleeman, they eventually moved inland and opened taverns.
“We didn’t want to change Sleeman, but we did want to present the story behind the brand in a new and more energetic way,” explains Jeff McCrory, strategic catalyst at Dentsu Canada, charged with putting the brand back on Canadians’ radar.
A series of 15-second spots help spin the Sleeman yarn, with one recounting how Al Capone would smuggle Sleeman’s beer to Chicago during prohibition. The story also unfolds via print ads, in-bar coasters and posters, tent cards and new caps.