Molson invites competitors to make ‘most Canadian case of beer’ ever (no Budweiser allowed)

Who: Molson Coors, with Rethink for creative, Citizen for PR, Wavemaker for media, and We Are Social for community management.

What: #MakeItCanadian, a fairly cheeky (by Canadian standards) advertising/PR/social campaign built around the double meaning of Canadian: the nation and the brand. Molson Coors is ostensibly promoting all beers founded in Canada, including long-time competitor Labatt if they want to play along—just not its Budweiser brand.

When & Where: Timed for Canada Day, the integrated campaign started today with an open letter ad in The Globe & Mail from Andrew and Geoff Molson calling on Canadians to support Canadian beers, along with digital/social and TV advertising to introduce the campaign and additional elements to come (more below).

Why: According to Molson, in most countries a national brand is the most popular with beer-drinkers, but not so in Canada. The campaign doesn’t mention it by name, but born-in-the-U.S.A. brand Budweiser, owned by AB InBev (which also owns Labatt), is tops, and has been for years.

Molson has been emphasizing the deep Canadian roots of the namesake Molson Canadian beer since last February—even though the beer has been owned by an American/Canadian corporation since the Molson Coors merger in 2005.

“Since 1786, seven generations of our family have been proudly brewing beer right here in Canada. But this isn’t about us or our story. This is about something bigger. It’s about pride in Canadian beer,” said the Molson brothers in the launch print ad.

How: The big idea here is that Molson is willing to promote any beer brand that got its start in Canada to create “the most Canadian case of beer ever.” Molson is inviting other brewers to take part by having their beer added to the special cases, standing “label to label” with other Canadian beers. Molson will release the special two-fours for Canada Day, and will use some of its social ad budget to promote competitor beers. Molson said other brewers who would qualify were only finding out about the promotion today, so no other brands had signed on yet.

Molson also wants consumers to make recommendations for the case by tagging Molson Canadian on Twitter or Instagram using the #MakeItCanadian hashtag.

An animated TV ad called “Rep Our Home,” imagines Molson founder John Molson rallying other well-known Canadian beer names without actually saying their names: Labatt, Keith’s and Kokanee, (both Labatt-owned brands), as well as Moosehead, which remains Canadian owned.

How does one get “the most Canadian case of beer ever”? The cases will be limited,  available in select cities via third-party e-commerce delivery partners starting July 1, with $5 from each case sold (up to $25,000) to local charities in need of assistance in “this particularly difficult year of 2020.”

Quote: “Molson has a proud history of bringing people together, no matter where in the country they call home. We will champion fellow Canadian beer brands founded in this great nation, to recall the pride for our brews and inspire Canadians to #MakeitCanadian on their next beer run.” —Joy Ghosh, marketing director for the Molson family of brands.

David Brown