Okanagan Spring dives into ‘OK Times’

Year two of the beer brand's summer campaign celebrates youthful, laid-back summer fun.


Canadians aren’t the only ones gearing up for the summer season.

Sleeman Breweries’ Okanagan Spring label is getting into the mood as well, unveiling a new campaign ahead of the May long weekend, one of the heaviest beer drinking occasions of the year.

As with other summer beer campaigns, including last year’s “OK Times” commercial and Sleeman’s newly launched “Here’s to Craftier Thinking” ad, the “Let the OK Times Begin” spot features Canadians making the most of what the season has to offer: plenty of sun, cottage time, swimming, BBQs and, of course, cold beer.

Led by agency 123w, the 60-second commercial will run online from now through July alongside 15-second cutdowns. It features Okanagan’s flagship label, the 1516 Lager, which is brewed with only four natural ingredients and speaks to the brand’s core attributes of quality and drinkability, says Sleeman Breweries marketing VP Peter Bodenham.

The “OK” logo and saying featured in the campaign and on the packaging is a nod to the Okanagan valley, which is locally referred to as “OK.”

When the company first launched “OK Time” last year, it also took the opportunity to redesign its packaging. The redesigned look brought forth the “OK” logo (which appears on the bottles, but not the cans) and was ultimately about “not wanting to be so serious, and showing where we come from,” Bodenham says. That was achieved, in part, by adding photography to help tell the stories of its individual beer labels.

1516Lager-2“When we started to dig in even more into the brand, it came down to a pretty simple formula,” he says. Building on a brand that’s known for its quality and taste, he says the goal was to “inject a bit more of the Okanagan spirit along with the attributes that we have, and that gives it a little bit more energy, a little bit more fun, and brings the spirit of the Okanagan in a different way.”

The move towards being even more approachable in its marketing is part of a strategy designed to reach younger beer drinkers who may just be starting their beer journeys, according to Bodenham. There’s a mid-20s to early-30s consumer segment that is ready to step into craft, but still less interested in high-end, ultra-heavy beers, including some IPAs.

“We’re not trying to take ourselves too seriously here,” he says. “We’re just trying to show that the summer is short and, especially in the Okanagan, people get out there and they have a great time, and you need a fun way to do that.”