Canadian club takes on premium beer market

By AdNews | 7 March 2008
After two years in the wilderness, Canadian Club is making a comeback with a major marketing campaign designed to pit the whisky brand against the lucrative premium beer market. Canadian Club, which is owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, has undergone a complete rebrand and is sporting new packaging, courtesy of Energi Design. An ad campaign, created by agencies The Works Sydney and Naked Design, will launch in Australia and New Zealand on 16 March with the new tagline of “Canadian Club – The Difference”. It includes television, outdoor, point-of-sale and a heavy online and viral component. The marketing outlay, tipped to fall between $3 million to $4 million, is the brand’s first significant media spend in two years. Bruce Piddy, brand director for Canadian Club, Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Sauza Tequila, declined to confirm the size of the marketing spend, saying only that “it’s a big amount”. “It’s the most we’ve ever spent in one particular hit at any one time,” he added. Canadian Club’s repositioning is a result of Beam Global Spirits & Wine’s acquisition of the brand from Allied Domecq. The brand was previously pitched as a bourbon competitor to Jim Beam. “Consumers seek it as a more premium brand anyway,” Piddy said. “The bottle has been redesigned to look more like an imported Canadian premium beer brand.” Piddy said the premium beer market is “going nuts”, and Beam Global wants to tap into that sector with Canadian Club. “The competition is a lot wider now than it’s ever been,” he said. “Consumers are less loyal, so they’ve more experimental. They’re more likely to try Canadian Club than ever before.” Canadian Club has added a new flavour – ginger beer – to its existing ready-to-drink (RTD) line-up of Coca-Cola and dry ginger ale. Two TVCs will launch on free-to-air and pay TV next week, and will also be played 12 times a day in every Fitness First gym. “They’re very humorous com-mercials that don’t fall into [the category of] classic boozy ads,” said Kevin Macmillan, partner at The Works Sydney. Canadian Club’s viral component, created by Naked Design, includes an online hunting game and humorous videos that highlight the brand’s heritage as well as new attitude. At the end of 2006, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) signed a deal to sell and distribute Beam Global Spirits & Wine Australia and Maxxium’s spirits brands. Piddy said the partnership with CCA meant Canadian Club now has “more feet on the ground”. “[CCA] is incredible at brand building,” he said. John Davidson

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