As ‘Genuine’ a fan as you are

Miller Genuine Draft aims to create a hockey-sized connection between the beer and the Toronto Raptors.

Miller Genuine Draft is taking the 20th anniversary of the Toronto Raptors as a chance to create a connection with old-school fans and those just hopping on the bandwagon.

In a series of 15-second spots, the familiar MGD bottle is showcased, as play-by-play calls of some of the Raptors’ biggest moments play in the background. Playing off the brand, the spots end on the tagline “Genuine Fans Rise Up.”

A big anniversary is typically an opportunity to do a heritage play, but MonkWilliams, the agency on the campaign, aimed to produce a campaign that would resonate not only with long-time fans, but also ones that have come on board as a result of the hype around the team during last year’s NBA playoffs, says Brad Monk, CD at the shop.

“The sound points are focused on big names and moments, so it’s not so inside that you have to be a hardcore fan to remember it,” says Monk.  “We wanted to amp up MGD because now the fans are very proud. You wouldn’t see a square with thousands of people watching basketball ten years ago. The job is to keep MGD hip with that scene, since more and more people are going to be getting on the bandwagon as the season goes.

“It’s always a good idea to say ‘we are one of you,’” Monk says. “We want to be part of it, not own it. We don’t want to be a bigger fan than you are, we want to be the biggest fan, like you already are.”

That message will also be present in mobile ads promoting Raptorsville, a Miller-sponsored program where local bars and restaurants will give away merchandise and game tickets, and on banners and signage at the Air Canada Centre. The agency is also exploring ways to built upon MGD’s existing sponsorship of in-game broadcast segments. MEC is handling the media buy on the campaign.

MGD has a long history sponsoring Raptors basketball, but when it comes to sports, as much attention as the team has gotten since their success last season, Toronto is still a Maple Leafs town first and foremost. However, Monk hopes that creating more of a connection between the beer and the fans of the Raptors will allow Miller to have the same connection with the team that other brands have with hockey.

“Molson Canadian has been so successful with hockey, partially because they are very clear in their ‘anything for hockey’ role,” he says. “The arch going forward is, as Canadian is anything for hockey, [MGD] will be at that same level as a partner and fan for Raptors basketball.”