Shopper Innovation Awards: James Ready gets 50% more awesome

The beer brand collects double Gold for creating coasters that serve different purposes.

Gold: In-store engagement
Gold: Small budget, big impact

In early 2013, James Ready launched its first lager. The challenge for its then-agency Leo Burnett was to gain distribution and spark sales at licensees in Ontario, with only a $10,000 budget.

In the past, the beer brand leveraged owned media (such as its caps, labels and even the beer case) to engage its fans. In October 2012, the brand revisited this tactic, using the lowly beer coaster as a new medium to entertain guys at the bar.

The James Ready coaster didn’t include the usual brand story or logo. Instead, its purpose was to make the bar experience 50% more awesome. When ordering a James Ready beer, the drinker was given one of 13 different coasters that featured games and entertaining information. Some of the coasters provided conversation starters and enders, while others helped guys out with greeting cards for their girlfriend or wife with copy that read, “Where was I last night?… Your rhetorical questions are so cute.”

The coasters program was effective in encouraging distribution at 18% above target. It also helped drive significant growth over the three-month period, with the brand generating a 60% increase in lager consumption between week one and week 12 within participating bars.


Brand: James Ready
Agency: Leo Burnett
Chief creative officer: Judy John
Creative directors: Judy John, Lisa Greenberg
Group creative directors: Anthony Chelvanathan, Steve Persico
Copywriter: Steve Persico
Art Director: Anthony Chelvanathan
Illustrators: Chris Duchaine, Cheryl Geonanga
Agency producer: Kim Burchiel
Account executive: Rebecca Simon
Group account director: Natasha Dagenais