Shopper Innovation Awards: James Ready barters beers

To win a Silver in Loyalty, the brand created a bartering system to be used among its devoted drinkers.

Silver: Loyalty

The gap between discount and mainstream beer was disappearing. The minimum price of beer was increasing and mainstream brands were going on sale more often, giving drinkers a reason to question the value of shopping the discount category.

With the help of Leo Burnett, James Ready launched the “How many beers for that?” program, which helped retain brand loyalty as well as acquire new James Ready fans by tapping into drinkers’ network of friends.

Guys repay guys with beer, but there isn’t a standardized system for how much beer they owe their friends. James Ready decided to create a bartering system with beer caps as the new currency. Values (such as “Sun-screened friend’s back. Earn 87 J.R.”) were placed under the caps, agreements were hidden behind labels and an app was developed for guys to share with friends.

The agency helped turn James Ready caps, which are normally thrown away, into content and conversation for drinkers. Despite the decline of the discount beer segment overall, James Ready sales have remained constant and consumer feedback shows the caps have played a big role in this success.


Brand: James Ready
Agency: Leo Burnett
Chief creative officer: Judy John
Group creative directors: Anthony Chelvanathan, Steve Persico
Copywriter: Steve Persico, Matt Doran, Marty Hoefkes, Kevin Hoessler
Art director: Anthony Chelvanathan
Agency producer: Kimberly Burchiel
Account executive: Rebecca Simon
Group account director: Natasha Dagenais