Reinventing an Iconic Canadian Brand

Using qualitative research to help Molson Canadian ignite latent Canadian equity in a relevant way.

Situation: Molson Canadian brand health and diary data indicated that the brand had an increasing number of casual drinkers. Passion for the brand seemed to have been replaced with unproductive familiarity for many, and the once compelling “Made From Canada” strategy was no longer persuasive. On the upside, Molson Canadian beer was viewed as a resoundingly proud Canadian icon. In fact, people were actively engaging with the “Made from Canada” slogan that had peppered the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. The team realized this was a spark for future opportunity. The challenge was how to ignite this latent equity in a relevant and breakthrough way.

Insight: In order to reveal beliefs that lay beneath the surface, we created a private online bulletin board for targeted participants. Lapsed Molson Canadian beer drinkers were asked how they viewed the beer and were tasked with writing a break-up letter to the brand. They then wrote a second letter focused on rekindling the relationship they missed. This simple yet revealing approach unearthed insights into the deep underpinnings of the brand.

These insights fuelled a new creative strategy that delivered the brand direction and energized new marketing communications. The new ideas were tested and refined via confirmatory research.

Impact: The innovations were executed via Rethink’s “Beer Fridge” campaign and within three days, the YouTube video received over a million views prior to airing on TV. The campaign went viral on three separate occasions and generated $160 million in PR value globally. It delivered demonstrable growth for the brand and reversed a solid five-year downward trend. The execution went on to win a Bronze Lion at Cannes and a Cassies Grand Prix.