Molson promotes its Ultra active lifestyle

Who: Molson Coors Canada (Molson Ultra brand), with Rethink for strategy and creative, Vision Films for production (Terry Hall and Jordan Bahat directing), Saints, Alter Ego and Grayson for post production. Media by Wavemaker.

What: “Yes People,” a new brand campaign for the Molson Ultra brand that represents the largest marketing push in its history, and its first campaign since the pandemic. Originally introduced in 2009 as Molson Canadian 67, the low calorie beer was relaunched into slim cans as Molson Ultra in 2019.

When & Where: The campaign’s first wave debuted on Monday and is running through June across TV, digital/social, and out-of-home. The media buy from Wavemaker includes a significant presence in the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs.

Why: The campaign is intended to create awareness of the brand and its functional benefits among people who are prioritizing wellness, and actively seeking out better-for-you beverage alcohol options, said Sophia Lal, senior brand manager, Molson and Miller at Molson Coors Canada.

Research for Molson Coors conducted by C+R Research found that 65% of consumers are looking to reduce their calorie and carb intake, at the same time people in the brand’s core target were unaware that Molson Ultra represented a low calorie offering. Molson believes the Ultra brand is on-trend, and has set aggressive growth targets for the coming year. “[Generating] that consideration with consumers is a big piece of the puzzle,” said Lal. “It’s solidifying who we are and what we stand for, and we think that understanding is going to be a big driver.”

How: Molson has traditionally leaned into Canadian stereotypes for its marketing (yes, we’re talking about THAT spot again), but this creative looks to bring new meaning to the global perception of Canadians being polite and accommodating—in other words “yes people.”

The 30-second anchor spot opens with a query: “Are we Canadians just a bunch of yes people?” In an attempt to associate Ultra with an active, outdoorsy lifestyle, the rest of the fast-paced ad depicts Canadians who say yes to a variety of activities, such as playing soccer, riding a bike to work in inclement weather, hiking even if it leaves them bent over and gasping for breath, skiing, and the obligatory jump off a dock into a picturesque mountain lake. “Because if that makes us yes people, then yes… we… are,” says the closing voiceover.

“[It’s] showing the gritty side of being Canadian ‘yes people,'” said Lal. “We generally choose activities that allow us to get out into our great backyard and do something a little bit more active. We wanted to mirror what [the target’s] life looks like on a day-to-day basis. It highlights the great determination and the joy we get from doing all of those activities.” The campaign includes two 15-second cutdowns and one six-second cutdown.

The hard seltzer elephant in the room: While the hard seltzer category is still relatively young, its explosive growth over the past decade has forced the traditional beer giants to react to protect their market share. Molson Coors announced last year that it was quadrupling hard seltzer production in Canada to meet growing consumer demand.

But Lal said that beer’s demise has been overstated. “[Hard seltzers] kind of expanded what the options are, but there are still lots of people looking for beer and the beer flavour,” she said.

The other key differentiator for Ultra, she said, is its 3% alcohol by volume (ABV) content, which is lower than that of seltzers, which are typically in the 4-5% range. “Molson Ultra sits in that distinctly light beverage alcohol space,” she said.

And we quote: “This [campaign] is just the start,” said Lal. “Molson Ultra has a huge opportunity. It’s competitively placed in its category in both calories and ABV, which fit perfectly with the major consumer trends we’re seeing. We have a lot of ambition for this brand.”

Chris Powell