Moosehead taps outer-self

The beerco's newest campaign encourages consumers to escape the trappings of indoor life and get outside.

Moosehead thinks Canadians have a problem: they spend too much time indoors. Through its newest campaign, it’s trying to help them unlock a lesser-known part of the human psyche that yearns for the outdoors, the outer-self.
The effort, which launched in May, conveys what Moosehead defines as its three main brand pillars – independence, nature and Canadiana – and aims to firmly entrench them, especially its positioning as a complement to outdoor activity, in the minds of Canadians.
“We want to create that emotional connection with our consumers,” explains Matt Johnston, VP, marketing, Moosehead. Developed by Toronto-based John St., the campaign includes three TV ads that establish the notion that Moosehead and nature walk hand-in-hand. A spokesperson points out the foibles of “modern-day advancements” like indoor gyms and ergonomic office seating, suggesting that they are actually designed to keep people away from their outer-self.
A microsite, Facebook page and POP further engage beer drinkers. At Outerself.ca, they can send postcards to friends from their outer-self and use a patio finder to help them get outside. People can also upload photos to an outer-self Flickr group, which become backdrops for the microsite.
We asked Karen Howe, senior VP and CD at Due North Communications, and Jason Keown, senior director, marketing, at Burger King, to tell us if Moosehead’s psychological exercise will be enough to get Canadians out of the gym and into the great outdoors.

OVERALL PLAN

Howe: Unleashing your “outer-self” is refreshing beer territory. It packages up a Canadian insight: when you only have seven minutes of summer, one builds a mighty strong emotional bond with the little time we do have to spend outdoors with a cold one clutched in our hand.
Keown: Moosehead is a good brand and this is a very safe campaign. No one can dispute that outside is better than inside and that outside is a good place to drink beer. But a deeper insight is required if their goal is to create or strengthen an emotional connection with their customers.

TELEVISION

Howe: The TV takes an entertaining look at the claustrophobic indoor hamster wheels that gyms, offices and online games have become. It effectively lures us outside to the bonfire for a frosty Moosehead.
Keown: The idea of inside (bad!) versus outside (good!) is pretty clear. The comedy and juxtaposition is low key, intentionally I’m sure, to reflect the brand’s tone. These spots sell the outdoors and the website, not necessarily the beer.

ONLINE

Howe: The online offers great campaign integration and meaningful content. There’s some silly, fun stuff (quiz/symptom list) but it also builds nicely on the target group’s interests and offers some real value-adds such as a list of hiking trails, cycle paths, etc.
Keown: Any brand trying new things online should be commended and providing a forum for like-minded people to connect is terrific. As this campaign evolves, I would expect newer location-based (and outdoor-friendly) social networks used to support the central message. Small thing, but I hope
they can also decrease the amount of grammatical errors coming from the “official” Moosehead discussion postings.

OUTER-SELF DISCOVERY

Howe: While other beer brands have tackled our love of the great Canadian outdoors, none have done so in such a comprehensive and well-rounded manner. This campaign is a very big idea with lots of room to grow – outside,
of course.
Keown: I understand that this is the first campaign from a new client/agency relationship and that both sides had to play it safe. The love of outdoors is rich territory to connect with Canadians and this brand does belong there. I look forward to future campaigns where they will take some risks, tell us truths about ourselves that we don’t realize and define how Moosehead’s view of nature differs from the other brands.

THE CREDS
CDs Angus Tucker, Stephen Jurisic; associate CD/copywriter Chris Hirsch; associate CD/AD Nellie Kim; agency exec producer Michelle Orlando; account service Ian Brooks, Mark Graham, Andrew Godfrey; director Ric Cantor; prodco Circle Productions; exec producer Michel Korchinsky; editor Griff Henderson (Poster Boy); audio Vapor; web production One Method; interactive producer Carrie Weston