Canadian Club challenges beer as the ‘go-to’ drink for hanging out

The whisky brand is looking to boost sales by making it a choice in casual occasions.

Canadian Club is taking its shot at a time-honoured Canadian tradition with its latest spot in the “Over Beer” campaign.

The spot features a group of friends watching a hockey game in their condo before one friend announces he no longer likes beer. This sets off a chain reaction in the group, who begin wondering why they’ve accepted beer as their “go-to,” and get rid of the living room beer fridge.

The campaing has sights set on a new, more casual occasion where whisky company Beam Suntory has seen an opportunity for growth. While beer sales have leveled off in recent years, there has been massive growth in alternative categories such as seltzers and ready-to-drink, pre-mixed cocktails. Canadian Club believes it can seize on that opportunity and get its whisky into more peoples’ glasses.

“There are a lot of people who are looking for an alternative to beer, but it’s so ubiquitous, especially in Canada and when you’re hanging out with friends,” explains Alexis Bronstorph, CCO at Taxi, which created the campaign. “I think there’s definitely a place for Canadian Club to exist in that world.”

Though the ad was created for “Canadians all across the country” who are of legal drinking age, it specifically targets those in their 20s to mid-30s – “people in that stage of life where their friends are their family,” explains Bronstorph. It also focuses primarily on urbanites who “may get together with their friends in their condo or on the terrace for drinks or a barbeque.”

This also sets it apart from the original “Over Beer” ad, which aired in Australia. While also challenging that country’s similar beer ubiquity, it instead depicted numerous scenes where people may not want to have beer, and opt for Canadian Club instead. The decision to instead challenge occasions where people already drank beer was made due to regulatory and logistical issues, says Bronstorph.

The spot is airing on TV and online video during the NHL playoffs and beyond. Media for the campaign is handled by Starcom.