Rickard’s focuses on social

The beer brand lays out the "Rules of the Round" in an online-only series that aims to grow its social community.

dudesMolson-Coors brand Rickard’s and its agency Rethink are helping to set some rules straight for nights out at the pub.

The brand has released three online-only short videos, laying out the “Rules of the Round,” with a British voice actor lending more weight to the regulations. The scenarios are acted out with stop-motion animated figurines.

The spots cover the tiebreaker for deciding who buys the first round (whoever’s closest to the bar), how to deal with someone who orders a cocktail instead of a pint and proper etiquette for someone who joins friends mid-round.

Mike Dubrick, ACD at Rethink, says the goal of the campaign is to help grow the brand’s online community. The idea for the campaign, with media by MEC, came out of a monthly meeting with the brand’s marketing team that senior marketing manager Julie Sanchez calls the “Newsroom.” From a discussion about beer culture and time-honoured traditions, the team narrowed the focus to the etiquette around buying rounds for your friends.

They chose to use stop-motion animated figurines, as opposed to actors, because it allows them to be nimble and able to act fairly quickly if they want to make follow-up spots. Sanchez says Rickard’s aims to be more responsive, getting ideas “from A to Z”  in two to three weeks. If there is high engagement with the “Rules of the Round” effort, then the company will produce more videos. Otherwise, the team will try something else.

“Hopefully our Facebook fans will help us craft the next ” she says.

Rickard’s, which targets male consumers with a sweet spot age of 28, is shifting away from traditional media, Sanchez adds, and has no plans to use TV for the rest of the year, investing in social and wild postings instead.

The videos are being promoted through pre-roll and Rickard’s social channels, including additional etiquette questions on Facebook, such as whether the birthday boy or girl should pay for a drink. Sanchez says the brand wants to be more active on Twitter and Instagram this year but is focusing on Facebook for now.

Dubrick says there’s been a great response to the ads, which have each been viewed at least 35,000 times on YouTube since they were posted Jan. 21. He notes that beyond just “liking” the spots on Facebook, people are sharing it with their group of friends, even calling buddies out for not following the rules.

“One guy sent it to their buddy and said ‘you’re that guy who goes to the bathroom [to avoid buying a round],’” Dubrick says. “It’s resonating with people and they are feeling that insight, rather than just laughing, clicking ‘like’ and moving on.”