Tom, Dick & Harry Crafts Moosehead Ads

CHICAGO Once one of the top import beers in the country, Canada’s Moosehead Lager is looking to inject itself in the minds of a younger generation through a guerrilla effort aimed at 21- to 29-year-old men—the key beer-drinking demographic.

The new campaign, from independent agency Tom, Dick & Harry Advertising, began late last week with a four-city effort that highlights the brand’s core equity: the moose.
Wild postings of a silhouetted moose began appearing in Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis and Champaign, Ill., home of the University of Illinois.

After two weeks, the posters will be augmented with obscure moose “facts” such as “During courtship, a moose’s neck becomes swollen, his eyes bloodshot and his temper shortened. But at least he doesn’t have to dance.” Later, print ads will continue the masculine theme with lines like, “Make your friends forget you bought a man purse,” while introducing the tagline, “Live big.”

“The moose is a very cool animal,” said Michael Hierlehy, creative partner at the Chicago shop. “Its mating habits are a lot like a 24-year-old guy.”

The guerrilla effort owes a debt to Seattle-based Rainier Beer, which received a number of awards for Cole & Weber/Red Cell’s campaign last year that featured a late-night TV program showcasing the classic brand. “I think they had the right idea,” Hierlehy said. “You’re just not going to compete on a mass-media level with Miller and Budweiser.

The top import behind Heineken and Lowenbrau in the mid-1980s, Moosehead has seen the average age of its customer increase to 42, while other micro, craft and imported brews have filled the market, said Shamus Hanlon, brand group director for Gambrinus, which distributes and markets the brand in the U.S.

San Antonio-based Gambrinus is spending “more than $4 million” on the effort, which is scheduled to run through the end of the year, Hanlon said.