Innis & Gunn is giving loyal fans their own seal of approval

Looking to drive more Canadian growth, the U.K. craft beer will reward its biggest "recommenders" for helping to spread the word.

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Innis & Gunn was the brand beer drinkers in the U.K. recommended to others most often last year, and it is bringing insights from across the pond to show Canadian beer drinkers why the advice of loyal fans is something they should listen to.

In an eight-week, multi-phase program, Canadian consumers can nominate themselves or their friends as being one of the brand’s most prolific “recommenders” in the country. Ten people will then be selected to appear in the brand’s wild postings, social media and digital ads, where it will “recommend them back” for whatever skills they might possess, from dancing to carpentry to being a helpful and considerate neighbour during the pandemic. They’ll also be surprised with custom four packs of Innis & Gunn lager.

Nicky Thomas, brand manager for Innis & Gunn, says the premise of the campaign is celebrating the fact that the beer is one fans like enough to recommend to others. “In a time like this when a lot of people aren’t able to connect with each other in person, this campaign is really important to be able to connect with people virtually through a lot of these activations we’re running.”

The brand will also have outdoor photo booth activations activations in Toronto and Vancouver, core regions for the brand that provide opportunities when it comes sales volume and potential growth, due to the size of their populations. Even though the campaign is about celebrating Innis & Gunn’s existing consumers, the broader business opportunity is about bringing in new consumers by getting them to understand just why so many people recommend Innis & Gunn. Thomas says a major brand pillar for Innis & Gunn has been hearing from its consumers, developing its products to make its customers happy.

Although the main insight that informed the development of this campaign is U.K.-based, Thomas says there are connections in Canada, with some Canadians feeling a connection to their own Scottish roots, and others having a similar affinity for beer, craftsmanship and quality products.

“A lot of Canadians have really embraced our Scottish heritage and love us for it,” Thomas says. “We have a very loyal consumer base here in Canada that has been with us throughout the years.”

The brand has been in Canada for just over 10 years, with its typical consumers being between the ages of 25 and 45. Most Canadian craft beer drinkers tend to opt for local options – due to the plethora of options and the fact that shipping and exporting beer can be an expensive proposition for most smaller operations – but Innis & Gunn claims the spot as the most popular international craft beer in the Canadian market.

The creative direction came from the brand’s global team, with the Canadian adaptation of strategy, execution and media buying handled by Toronto’s Your Brand Integrated Marketing Communications.