Molson – Tapping into Canadian culture

The following is a review of some of the most recent Molson Canadian advertising campaigns. Starting off, of course with the most popular of all, the “I Am Canadian” campaign.

Molson Canadian is not the greatest beer out there. It’s not even the greatest Canadian beer. In fact, in my opinion, it’s actually a pretty lousy beer. Yet, it’s appropriately named “Canadian”, which naturally gives them the opportunity to do some really great advertising work in relating to the rest of the country.

They have the opportunity to instill that sense of national pride in Canadians. And that’s exactly what they did with the “I Am Canadian” campaign that made so many beer drinking shell out the dollars for a mediocre beer. It was advertising at it’s finest.

Here is the famous “The Rant” spot, below.

The commercial was and still is amazing. It is so effective at hitting the core of Canadian pride, especially debunking a lot of the “American” stereotypes of Canadians. The spot was spoofed countless times, on comedy shows, at hockey games. It was the biggest commercial in Canada at the time.

The spot was followed up by a few commercials of Americans making fun of Canadians with their generic stereotypes and the Canadians responding by hockey fighting or sicking their pet beavers on them. Definitely inferior spots, but still along the same lines of “The Rant”.

Then, in 2005, Molson merged with Coors. This was actually very big in the news at the time because it meant that the “I Am Canadian” brand, was now American. And with that, they dumped their famous tag line and went in a completely different direction.

The “It Starts Here” campaign was born. And it couldn’t live up to the advertising before it. Check out the spot, below.

I’d actually forgotten that this campaign existed. Simply because it fails to connect to the Canadian audience, not only in comparison to “The Rant” commercial, but just in general. It was very forgettable and Molson Canadian pretty much fell off the map in terms of their advertising.

Until finally, last year they woke up and realized what they’d done wrong. As I stated up above, Molson Canadian almost has a built-in message of Canadian pride and identity. Why were they not playing this up? Finally, they released “The Code” campaign.

Check out spots #1 and #2 below.

Molson Canadian had gone back to what made the “I Am Canadian” campaign so successful. In fact, “The Rant” commercial was criticized a bit for being about what Canada is not, instead of what Canada is. Well, that is not the case with “The Code” campaign. In terms of what it means to be Canadian, what they left out in “The Rant” spot they have defined in this campaign.

And it works.

It taps into Canadian culture, connects with their audience, and despite the beer itself not being very good, it insists on being part of our identity. It took them several years in order to come back around, but come around they did.

Thoughts on the three campaigns above? Post below.



5 Responses to Molson – Tapping into Canadian culture

  1. DoreenatDMS says:

    um… i guess latest installments do connect with their audience. But do they “tap into Canadian culture”, as you put it? Well, only if you define “Canadian culture” as being a guy 😉

  2. danvertising says:

    You’re right, I don’t think they are targetting women with this campaign. But the campaign definitely works given their Canadian male target audience.

  3. Wesley-Anne Rodrigues says:

    Hi Dan, I’m an advertising professional from India. I believe the Molson Canadian commercials (Joe Rant and The code) aims at giving Canadians(male or female) a hook to hold on to – one of national pride by differentiating them from America, a country that Canada is tired of playing second fiddle to. I think it works brilliantly for a brand to plug into this psyche of the average Canadian and thus make the brand one the consumer wants to own and be a part of.
    -WesleyAnne Rodrigues

  4. Ferg Devins says:

    Just thought I’d get your review up to date by placing the lastest advertising for Molson Canadian here. The next spot will start airing during the Olympics…Molson Canadian is one of the official beers of the 2010 Games…cheers world from all of us in Canada @MolsonFerg

  5. Wesley-Anne Rodrigues says:

    I checked it out…this one’s a little too arrogant and loses the plot somehow. Because till now, the ads had nothing to do about the product, and suddenly tying (almost force fitting)the product into the ‘awesomeness’ of Canada, isn’t really working.

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