Molson looks back with new brand advertising

Who: Molson and Rethink

What: A new TV ad for Molson Canadian, Export and Dry that uses the “History is in your hands” tagline introduced alongside a new visual identify last month.

When & Where: It’s early days for a new campaign we can expect to run all year. As of Tuesday midday there’s no sign of it online, but the TV spot ran during the Toronto Maple Leafs game on TSN Monday night.

How: The ad uses animation to tell the history of the brand, from founder John Molson arriving in Canada in 1782, to starting the brewery in 1786, carrying right up to the present day. Rethink’s managing partner, creative director Christina Yu said the agency employed a “brush stroke” animation style intended to reference Molson’s historical archive.

Why? This is all about reminding consumers of the brewery’s deep Canadian roots, while also positioning founder John Molson as an inspirational contributor to Canadian society beyond the brewery: he helped build Canada’s first railroad, was instrumental in building the first Canadian bank, and Montreal General Hospital.

We quote: “Our founder, John Molson, was so much more than a brewer to Canada—we were sitting on centuries of Molson history that the new generations of beer drinkers wouldn’t know about,” said  Joy Ghosh, senior director marketing at Molson Coors Canada.

The Message: Molson is really, really Canadian, and being Canadian means doing great things. Molson is looking backward to ground the brand, while at the same time positioning itself as progressive and forward looking. “The best way to honour history is to keep making it,” is the closing tagline in the TV spot.

For now there’s just one TV spot, but we can expect more of this over the course of the year, extending beyond the John Molson story. An earlier press release revealing the visual identity talked about honouring “change-leaders like John Molson through exciting collaborations throughout the year, putting forward more of what makes Canadians proud of their fabric.”

Will this work with millennials? We asked about reaching younger beer drinkers. Ghosh said Molson wants to re-introduce its story to a new generation of consumers, who may not be familiar with the brand. The target, he said, is “those who embody Canadian character, who see beyond themselves, bring the group together, and act with intention to inspire tomorrow through the big and little things.”



David Brown