In the signature spot for Molson USA's new TV

In the signature spot for Molson USA’s new TV campaign, a slinky blond barfly gets right to the point about the man she’s got her eye on: “I’m giving Peter the green light tonight because Peter’s drinking Molson.”

With that, Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s debut work for Molson distills a generation of beer advertising down to one overarching male fantasy: the notion that the brand in question opens the door to wild, uninhibited, unexpected sex.

The next moment, however, the blonde narrator tosses an unexpected shot of irony into the brew: “Yeah, he keeps forgetting my name and he’s been talking to my chest all night, but the fact that Peter drinks Molson—a cold, crisp import from Canada—tells me that he’s experienced and worldly. … Yeah, he’ll probably never call me again, but tonight I have a surprise for Peter.”

Peter, a chin-whiskered Everyman, stands oblivious at the bar (Toronto’s Inside nightclub). He’s gripping what CP+B creative director Alex Bogusky calls his “male cosmetic,” in this case, a bottle of Molson.

“We play off the clichés of beer advertising,” says Bogusky. “All the things beer advertisers try to say to you without saying. This is a fresher, ironic approach that hopefully becomes a refreshing brand.”

Beer brands make statements, says CP+B president Jeff Hicks. “‘I’m a regular guy, I’m an upscale guy.’ For Molson, it’s, ‘I’m a little smarter guy, not caught up in superficiality.’ ”

The tagline, which might apply to a generation of inarticulate slackers, is, “Let your Molson do the talking.”

“The whole idea is that beer is in the fashion category for guys: something you ‘wear’ when you’re at a bar,” says senior copywriter Bob Cian frone. “It signals something about you. Our concept was born out of the truth: What can Molson say?”

It hasn’t said much thus far, says Bogusky, who describes the brand as “seriously underleveraged.” Molson USA, a division of Montreal-based Molson’s Breweries, has “absolutely no brand image other than a vague sense of being Canadian—and that doesn’t mean that much,” he adds.

Complicating matters is the relatively small budget for the account, which CP+B won in March. The estimated $8-10 million account, although more than double last year’s $4 million recorded by CMR, is still small change compared with category leaders like Budweiser and Miller. Nonetheless, the U.S. market is increasingly important to Molson: Beer sales are growing an average of 11 percent a year in the U.S., but just 1 percent in Canada.

“We have less money, and we want to push ourselves to the forefront of the category—at least in thinking,” says Bogusky. “The way to do it is with some honest messages about the category, veiled in a lot of fun and goofiness.”

Among the goofier touches: a warning at the end of the spot advising that it’s a “Wacky fictional portrayal. Drinking Molson will not get you women, friend.”

Some of CP+B’s refreshing honesty was deemed a little too direct. Three versions of “Peter” were made, including one in which the woman opens with, “I’m gonna hook up with Peter tonight” and later says, “Peter’s gonna get some …” Ultimately the team decided on the less blunt version.

“Promotion,” the second spot in the campaign, is built around four twentysomething suits drinking Molson at a club while their boss lists his backhanded reasons for promoting one of the guys, Michael. “Granted, he crashed our computer system downloading some filth from the Internet,” he says, deadpan. “Even if I did catch him with my wife at last year’s Christmas party …” In short, Michael is getting promoted “because Michael is drinking Molson.”

If viewers don’t hear the message, perhaps they will see it. With some 17 glasses of beer moving through “Promotion,” viewers are taking in approximately one visual cue every 1.5 seconds.

“Promotion” broke last week on cable and broadcast outlets in markets including Boston, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and New York markets including Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. “Peter” is due to break in the next month. Both are scheduled to air during the NHL and NBA playoffs and championship series.