Sol sends city dwellers to sun-soaked patios

Who: Heineken Canada-owned beer brand Sol, with Publicis Toronto/Publicis Sports & Entertainment for strategy and creative; North Strategic for PR; Wavemaker for media.

What: “The Ray-Dar,” an out-of-home campaign that uses current weather information from the OpenWeather API to direct consumers to the nearest sun-splashed patio. It ladders up to the beer’s new global brand platform, “Live From the Sunny Side.”

When & Where: The campaign is in market now in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, running throughout the summer across both traditional and digital out-of-home. There are 100 billboards across the three markets, driving to about 300 drinking establishments.

Why: The name Sol means “sun” in Spanish, so it’s appropriate that the brand has made sunlight a key component of its communications strategy.

“It’s connecting the consumer need of wanting to be in the sun with Sol being the catalyst,” said Heineken Canada marketing director Jose Casillas.

The specific focus with this campaign is on attracting younger drinkers (19-24), who are faced with an array of choices in the easy-drinking category occupied by Sol.

“There are so many options that people don’t see beer as an obvious, immediate choice,” said Casillas. “People can start with seltzers, or cocktails, or an Aperol spritz without going through beer. I think this is part of the challenge for the [beer] category to regain its territory with the lines blurring.”

How: Each billboard is equipped a QR code that, when scanned, takes visitors to a web page using the OpenWeather API to direct consumers to the nearest sun-soaked patio.

Publicis Toronto executive creative director Vini Dalvi described the boards as more than just advertising. “They’re a real-time guide to help people discover and enjoy the best sunny patios their city has to offer,” he said. “They are a great example of how we’re able to blend creativity and cutting-edge technology to create cool and fun interactive experiences for consumers.”

In addition to the digital boards, the campaign is also using mobile billboards that directed people to tasting events that included Sol-branded beach towels. The brand distributed 915 towels across three weekends, as well as 9,800 Sol samples.

And we quote: “Younger audiences do like the beer occasions, it’s just that they’re being bombarded by so many options when it comes to classic ‘beer moments’ like picnics, the beach and patios. I believe that Sol is gaining traction with these younger audiences to be part of these moments.” — Jose Casillas, marketing director, Heineken Canada

Chris Powell