Muskoka Brewery takes a Detour with its new summer campaign

Who: Muskoka Brewery and Blackjet.

What: “Venture Off the Beaten Path,” a new summer campaign for the brewer’s flagship beer, Detour India Session Ale.

When & Where: It’s built around out-of-home and digital/social, with a specific focus on Ottawa, Toronto and the Muskoka region.

Why: The emphasis is on the brewer’s Detour India Session Ale, the largest brand in its portfolio. It’s more accessible than a standard IPA, whose hoppy taste can be a deterrent for casual beer drinkers. “It’s trying to push the envelope a little bit, but not all the way through the mail slot,” jokes Michael Rivait, account director with Blackjet. The Toronto agency landed the assignment in October, although it had previously worked with the brand several years ago.

The strategy is specifically targeting premium imported beer drinkers in an effort to get them to try something different. “We’re going after a drinker that would be willing to move away from [traditional premium beers].”

How: The campaign is aimed at “urban” drinkers 25-40 using what Rivait describes as a “disconnect and unplug” approach that reflects the laid-back Muskoka region from which the beer hails.

Screen shot 2019-07-22 at 11.43.51 AMIt’s very much a non-urban kind of beverage in its mindset,” says Rivait.

The campaign brings to life the “Active Adventurer” character featured on the Detour label (designed by Vancouver’s One Twenty Three West). With his backpack and long beard, the character is the embodiment of the beer’s “authentic, down to earth nature,” says Blackjet CEO Rob Galletta.

The creative nods to Muskoka’s rural location, where cellular service is sometimes poor, the roads aren’t always paved and people are a little less focused on being connected.

One piece of creative, for example, uses the phrase “Pairs well with no service.” The “i” in the word service is comprised of a phone’s signal strength bar, which has reached one bar, while the accompanying image shows the adventurer tossing away his phone. The streetcar wraps make them appear mud-spattered.

Why so much out-of-home? “We wanted to make a big splash and blanket markets with the largest format possible,” says Rivait. “A lot of the creative in micro-exposure wouldn’t really resonate, so we wanted the biggest format we could find.” Toronto was selected because of its size and importance, says Rivait, while Ottawa was selected because it has traditionally been one of Muskoka Brewery’s best performing markets.





Chris Powell