Grand Prix Winning CP+B Molson Entry

Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami
Client: Molson USA
Brand/Service/Product: Molson Canadian
Campaign Title: “Let Your Molson Do the Talking”
Planners (alpha):
Adrian Fogel
Liliana Rodriguez
Jamie Webb

One-sentence Topline

Let Your Molson Do the Talking.

75-word Summary

By treating beer as fashion we recognized the role of the beer label itself – to signal something positive to your peers and make yourself more attractive to members of the opposite sex. So, we created a second or “Twin” label to be used as a tool to help our young male target meet and connect with women. Molson Canadian sales are up 48% and is the fastest growing major import in the United States.

Business Background

Molson is Canada’s number one selling domestic beer. It was a pretty popular import in the U.S. in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. Miller, which owned the rights to the Molson brand during the late 90’s put its marketing emphasis elsewhere. The best-known Molson brand, Molson Canadian was neglected.

As a result, while imported beers have enjoyed a period of strong growth (8-12% on average) in the U.S. over the last several years, Molson has seen its sales volume decline roughly by half.

In an effort to rescue and rebuild the brand, Molson bought back its rights from Miller in 2001 and hired CP+B in 2002 to regain momentum for Molson U.S.A. and relaunch Molson Canadian as its flagship brand in the U.S.

Insights About Bar Culture

Creating momentum in the beer category happens on-premise (the beer industry term for bars and restaurants). Guys go to bars and restaurants to meet women. In the absence of women they will eat hot wings, watch sports, play pool and talk about women. But meeting and connecting with women is what it’s all about. No real insight there.

Insights About the Category

We went on-premise to observe what happens. We went to clubs, restaurants, upscale bars, sports bars and a few dives. Any place you could get a cold bottle of imported beer. We watched how guys held their bottle of beer – with the label facing forward. How they positioned it at a table – in front of them. We learned the difference between “Wednesday night beers” with the guys and “Friday night beers” with the ladies. What we learned was that Molson’s category isn’t really beer, but rather male fashion. It turns out that our target (males 21-27) uses beer exactly the same way they use fashion labels – to “signal” who they are and what they’re all about and make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex. And certain beer brands have spent millions of dollars over many years to give their labels badge value. Corona says you’re laid back. Heineken says you’re up and coming and know quality. Guinness says you’re a bit of a beer connoisseur. The implication? We needed Molson Canadian to become a badge too.

Insights About Our Brand

Planning wanted to find out what, if any badge value Molson Canadian did or could have. We were shocked to find out that Molson Canadian didn’t really say anything. Most brands say something, even if it’s negative. But Molson didn’t. Planning showed that beyond being from Canada, Molson didn’t have any meaning or any real badge value (and therefore relevance) to our guys and didn’t make them any more or less attractive to women.

Insights About Our Prospects

From a momentum standpoint, the “sweet spot” in the beer category is twenty-something males who are socially active.
Planning showed that while these guys were young and socially active, they were not necessarily socially confident or self-assured. Through their choice of brands and choice of words they risk sending the wrong message about themselves to others – especially to members of the opposite sex. And they seek out tools to help lower that risk.
So, they turn to Maxim and Stuff and FHM to lower their risk and gain confidence in these types of social situations and to add to their arsenal of tools that help them become good conversationalists and connect with women. These include small talk, social banter, comebacks, self-deprecating humor, jokes, etc. Mastering these skills can mean the difference between getting a girls phone number at the end of the night or getting totally shot down.
The implication? While beer is a natural social lubricant, no beer brand explicitly gives guys on-premise tools to succeed and feel self-assured in these types of social situations. This was Molson’s opportunity.

The Brief

Make the Molson Canadian Label say something.

The Briefing

Position Molson as the import beer brand that helps our young, single males to be successful and self-assured with women.
-Make Molson Canadian a tool that helps them start and maintain a conversation with women.
-Make Molson Canadian a “signaling” device that shows who they are and what they’re all about.

The Big Idea

We knew that the label on the front of the Molson Canadian bottle had very little meaning for our guys. And that it could take years and millions of dollars to give Molson Canadian meaning the conventional way. Time and money the Molson brand didn’t have. The implication? We needed to cheat both time and money and give Molson Canadian immediate badge value and relevance in order to survive.

So the creative team asked Molson to put a second or “Twin” label on the back of the bottle that we could use as media to give Molson Canadian immediate relevance. And we knew what was most relevant to our guys – tools to help them gain confidence and be successful with women. The idea was that with Molson’s Twin Label Technology you could let your Molson do the talking.

But adding a second label was not an inexpensive proposition. In fact, it would require a million dollar capital investment by Molson to retool their lines at the factory. So, they put a lot of pressure on planning to prove to them that Twin Label technology would work and show them how.

First thing we did was mock up a couple of bottles of Molson Canadian with Twin Label Technology and conduct a series of friendship-cell interviews with our target guys. These interviews showed that guys really liked the Twin Label idea because they saw how it could help them when they were out socializing. But, they also wanted assurance that there would be a lot of different Twin Labels. Otherwise, they said, the idea would grow stale – fast.

So next, we mocked up blank labels and took them out to bars and restaurants. We asked our target and their female friends to brainstorm and come up with their own ideas for what our Twin Labels should say. We collected hundreds of Twin Label ideas as part of this effort.

While most of them were a bit over the top and couldn’t be used, they did help tell us and the creative team what category’s guys needed the most help with. Areas like pick-up lines and ice breakers, rejection deflection, comebacks, statements of strength and physical prowess, etc.

Finally, when we had enough Twin Labels developed, we mocked up a couple of cases of Molson Canadian and had a Molson night at a local bar to see what happened. The Molson client went with us. What happened was remarkable. After a few beers, guys were removing the labels from the bottle and sticking them on their shirt or pants. They were buying more beer to see what labels they got and trading them among friends. And women were having as much fun with Twin Label Technology as the guys. Clearly we were on to something. After observing what happened that night the Molson client made the decision to invest in Twin Label Technology. They retooled their line and our creatives went to work.

So far we’ve developed 232 “Twin” labels and planning was instrumental in uncovering the insights that led to the Twin Label idea and in the development of the actual labels.

Molson Twin Advertising

Working off the same brief that led to the Twin Label idea, the creative team came up with the idea of making the advertising itself a tool to help our guys. They developed Molson Twin Advertising. We ran a full-page ad in Cosmo “signaling” that Molson drinkers were caring, sensitive men.

At the same time, we ran an ad in Maxim, Stuff and FHM that explained to our guys that we were preprogramming women to have a positive emotional response at the sight of a man drinking Molson Canadian.

The Results

Positive opinion of the Molson Canadian brand is up 30% since we launched the Twin Label idea, and we’ve made progress in reshaping the image of Molson Canadian on key user imagery attributes.

Moreover, guys who have never tried Molson but would consider it is up 26% since the launch of Twin Labels (from 53% to 67%).

Molson Twin Labels was just named “Top Gear” in the July 2003 issue of Maxim.

The Molson Canadian brand not only has momentum in the marketplace, it has created excitement among distributors for the first time in years, with distribution up 8% since the launch of Twin Label Technology.

Since breaking the Twin Label idea, Molson Canadian sales are up 48% and revenue is up 40%. Molson Canadian is now the fastest growing major imported beer in the U.S. Molson Canadian has gown 48% when imports (as a category) have slowed from 8-12% annual growth to about 2% last year. The Molson Canadian brand now accounts for 43% of Molson’s total U.S. volume.

What this means is that Molson sold 84,000 more barrels of Molson Canadian than they did a year ago. With an industry average of $30-40 profit on a barrel of beer, this translates into nearly $3,000,000. So, Molson has already paid for retooling its line in the U.S. and made about 200% profit above and beyond their initial million-dollar investment.

The idea has been so successful that Molson retooled their lines in Canada and Twin Label Technology is now available north of the border.

So don’t be surprised if you see a guy next to you at the bar holding a Molson Canadian with a label that proclaims, “One-man Bachelorette Party”.