The Movie Out Here [Kokanee]

Packaged Goods--Beverage (GOLD)
Best Integrated Program (GOLD)

Client Credits: Labatt Breweries of Canada
Vice President Marketing: Jorn Socquet
Marketing Director, Budweiser, Core and Value: Kyle Norrington
Senior Marketing Manager, Core and Value Brands: Amy Rawlinson
Assistant Marketing Manager, Core and Value Brands: Mieko Nagao
Counsel Labatt Breweries of Canada: Matthew Lawless

Agency Credits: Grip Limited
Creative Directors: Scott Dube, Randy Stein
Art Director: Catherine Allen
Writer: Ian Simpson
Director: David Hicks
Editor: Griff Henderson
Agency Producer: Laurie Maxwell
Interactive Art Directors: Joel Holtby, Hiten Patel, Ryan Dzur
Designer: Andy Slater
Account Services: Martin McClorey, John Miller, Brendon Sargent, Matt Yip, Eric Vieira,
Account Services: Sarah Henderson, Adam Luck, Aaron Nemtean
Interactive Developers: Dylan Dempsey, Justin Krinke, Zack Ginies, Hanna Chen
Studio: Teegan Skals, Rob Wigington, AJ Merrick, Patrick Robinson, Jody Wagner, Steve Errett,
Studio: Nico Mexner, Matt Maian
Story By: Catharine Allen, Ian Simpson, Matthew Bass
Screenplay By: David Chiavegato, Rich Pryce-Jones, Matthew Bass
Post Production: Section Eight, Poster Boy, Finale, Notch, Axys, Crush
Audio Production: Post Modern, Jingle Punks
Movie Title: The Juggernaut
DOP: Samy Inayeh
Interactive Producer: Todd Harrison
Interactive Writer: Naeem Ghafari
Production Company: Infinity Films


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):April 2012 - April 2013
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: April 2012
Base Period as a Benchmark: April 2011 - May 2012

a) Overall Assessment

Kokanee, long established as “the beer out here” in Western Canada, faced many challenges coming into 2012.  Its mountain refreshment and western heritage were not as revered as they once had been, as young beer drinkers continued to be attracted to the offerings of global and national brands like Budweiser, Coors Light and Molson Canadian. Brands that have a share of approximately one-third of the beer market. As well, this target, particularly in BC which accounts for 39% of total Western Canada market volume, was increasingly attracted to the value segment, which consisted of more local and less expensive microbrewery offerings like Caribou, and traditional value brands like Busch.   Across the West, the value segment had grown 8.82% between April 2011 and April 2012.  During the same period Kokanee experienced a share decline of over 11%.


Important note: Within the beer category, small changes translate to big results on the bottom line.  By way of example, a single share point is worth over $25 million of retail value in Western Canada.


Kokanee was also working with a significantly decreased media spend – minus 70% versus its heyday in 2007, and minus 14% versus the year prior – making it that much more challenging to stand out in this increasingly competitive marketplace, and with increasingly discerning young adults, surrounded by their choice of offers, messaging, and brands.


Kokanee was stuck in the middle, and needed to do something that would grab the attention of its consumers, and halt the brand’s steady decline.  And it had to find a way to do it within a budget that paled in comparison to many of its competitors.  For the 2012 calendar year, Kokanee’s media share voice was expected to be only 3% (relative to a market share of 8.8%).


Fortunately, Kokanee had a number of things working in its favour: A long-running and well-known brand narrative that features a Kokanee-loving Sasquatch and some dim-witted mountain Rangers, and a marketing team that appreciated that a traditional approach was not going to get the results they desired.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

1. Stop the erosion of Kokanee's brand health

2. Drive increased consumer engagement with the brand

3. Deliver market presence that exceeds it paid SOV

4. Stop Kokanee's share decline

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
Western Canada

a) Analysis and Insight

With our target’s attention and interest elsewhere, we knew we needed to think and do differently to re-engage young adult Western Canadians with Kokanee.  We needed something that would capture their hearts and minds and elevate Kokanee versus the many other beer choices.


Research confirmed the brand’s and target’s shared connection and passion for the mountain lifestyle, as well as our target’s affinity for the Kokanee narrative and its cast of characters. The question now became, how do we serve this up in a new, unique and unprecedented way?  How do we engage them in the brand again?  How do we bolster their western, or better yet, Kokanee pride?


In our target’s media world where anyone can be on a TV reality show, or in a commercial, or make a home-made Super Bowl commercial, or simply just put themselves on YouTube or Tumblr, coming up with an impactful and original initiative was bound to be quite the challenge.


In the end, the opportunity was glaringly obvious.  Research told us that our target is an avid movie-goer.  They are also among the most active, and most open, to crowdsourcing initiatives.  Lastly, and most importantly, we knew that these beer drinkers are extremely open to branded content.  As long as we entertained them, they would be happy to engage with branded content.

b) Communication Strategy

Our idea: Make a feature length movie.  But not simply for the sake of making a movie. The movie was to be just the head of a very long tail of activation. It’s truly 20% movie and 80% activation. As such, the big idea was to use the movie to engage consumers in the Kokanee narrative and how it would come to life on the big screen.  Engage consumers at every possible point of contact – TV, cinema, online, outdoor, on-premise, retail, packaging – and allow them to participate in the movie’s storyline, location selection, music tracks, prop selection and production. The movie would be our vehicle to involve western Canadians in the brand again, as well as bolster their pride for the west and this iconic mountain brand.


And how were we going to achieve this on such a small budget?  That’s another case study in itself.  Needless to say, it was a massive undertaking that took everyone out of their comfort zone. Certainly no one had produced a movie.  Ultimately, we would need to compel a film company to come on board as a partner to help make this dream a reality and activate the pants off of it by thinking beyond paid media to truly bring this ambitious initiative to life.

a) Media Used

- TV

- Cinema

- Out of Home

- Radio

- Digital Ads

- Microsite

- Facebook

- Email

- Retail

- In Bar

- Experiential

- PR

- Gamification

b) Creative Discussion

There were four phases of creative: Movie Pre-Production, Movie Production, Pre-Release, and Movie Premiere and Release.


Movie Pre-Production


From the beginning, we knew that the actual movie was just a small part of the equation.  The true opportunity was to use the movie to empower, engage and celebrate our consumers in western Canada.  We could invite them to participate, listen to their ideas, include them in the narrative, and share in the journey with them.  So, in this first phase which ran April to July 2012, we not only let consumers know that we were making a movie, but we invited them to audition for roles (both live and online), nominate their favourite bar as a featured location, submit prop ideas, and enter an original song for inclusion in the movie’s score.  We also asked consumers to provide their name for the movie’s end credits – Kokanee’s way of showing their gratitude for so many years of support.  Besides, who doesn’t want to be in a movie, even if it is only in the credits! was our main point of interaction, but the brand also travelled across the west to do live auditions, and bars were actively involved recruiting patrons to nominate them for the movie.  These efforts were supported with TV, pre-roll and Cineplex pre-show, as well as on the microsite and Facebook.


A point of interest: During this time, one of our creative teams was busily writing the script.  All elements of this program, including the final script, were conceived of and developed in-house at Grip.  It was a learning experience for sure, and we had to be flexible in our approach, evolving over time to deal with all the curveballs and opportunities that came our way.



Movie Pre-ProductionMovie Pre-Production

Movie Pre-Production

Movie Production


Once in production (July – August 2012), it was important to hold on to the momentum we had created and continue to involve consumers.  Not to mention, a celebrity cast of characters, amazing western locations, and an evolving storyline made for great and engaging content.  With no media to support this phase, we took advantage of branded media opportunities, engaging fans on our site with online production diaries, as well as custom limited edition movie cans at retail. 


Movie Production

Movie Production

Movie Pre-Release


The movie was almost ready for release.  An amazing feat given that it had only been 12 months since the project was officially underway.  We now had to activate like a movie.  A movie that was being released in theatres.  During this phase (September – October 2012), we offered consumers the chance to win tickets to one of three mountaintop premieres – Fernie, Jasper or Whistler – in case, at bar and online. We also offered collectible movie-themed glassware at retail and supported it with custom case art and retail POS.  These efforts were supported with TV and some digital ad units.


Movie Pre-Release


Movie Pre-Release


Movie Pre-Release

Movie Premiere & Release


Now for the icing on the cake.  Eight months in market, the campaign was already a great success, and we now had the opportunity to premiere the movie, and subsequently release it in theatres across the West. The three premieres – in Fernie, Jasper, and at the annual Whistler Film Festival – were supported through PR, and all proved to be memorable experiences for the brand and consumers who participated in them.  The theatrical release, in 30 theatres across the west beginning March 1st, was supported with a real in-cinema movie trailer, a 30-second movie trailer TV spot, a “red-band” explicit trailer online, OOH, in-cinema media, secondary retail packaging, and Facebook ticket giveaways.


And, of course, there was the movie itself.  It featured Adam, an uptight Toronto lawyer, who goes back to his hometown of Fernie, and ends up helping to save his friend’s local business.  It’s a Western Canadian adventure, complete with Sasquatch sightings, bikini-clad Glacier Girls in a pillow fight, and of course the Kokanee Rangers.  Perfect entertainment for our young adult male target.


Not only was it a show of success for Kokanee, but for all the western Canadians who helped to make it happen.


Movie Premiere & Release


Movie Premiere & Release


Movie Premiere & Release


Movie Premiere & Release

c) Media Discussion

Paid, brand and earned media supported the four phases of the campaign, with all consumer touchpoints working in concert.


Our paid media budget was limited, especially in comparison to some of our competition, so we knew we needed to be tactical in our approach.  One flight of 30-second TV was used to announce the initiative and invite consumers to participate, and a flight of 15-second TV was used to communicate the opportunity to win tickets to one of three mountaintop premieres.  Prior to the movie’s launch across the west, one short flight of 30-second TV aired the official movie trailer (note: the movie trailer contained no mention of Kokanee).


The TV was supplemented with targeted OOH as well as promotional materials in cinemas.


A small sponsored story buy on Facebook helped to drive consumers to our production diaries to keep them engaged during the filming of the movie.


With limited paid media available, we viewed our packaging as a key (and cost-effective) media vehicle for promoting the campaign.  Over 30,000,000 limited edition Movie Cans were created, as well as unique case art.


POS materials and experiential events also served as our media in bars across the west, engaging patrons to nominate their favourite bar as a key shooting location, and win tickets to the three mountain premieres.


Understandably, our microsite was where the majority of interaction and engagement with consumers occurred, as all media directed them here.  Kokanee also used Facebook as a media vehicle, keeping fans engaged with ongoing content related to the movie.


Earned media can not be planned, but fortunately for Kokanee, our effort resulted in a PR windfall – The Movie Out Here was covered in every major newspaper and entertainment weekly, as well as on Entertainment Tonight, Etalk, Breakfest Television and magazines such as Fast Company, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.


For close to a year, we used all of these channels to engage our consumers in unprecedented ways, to create buzz and interest in this unique initiative, and to drive desired results for the brand.


Media Discussion

a) Sales/Share Results

By all accounts the movie and the initiatives surrounding it were a great success and helped the brand achieve the objectives it had laid out:


Objective #1: Stop erosion of Kokanee’s brand health


From April 2012 to April 2013, Kokanee’s refreshment scores increased by over 20%, and overall brand health also stopped declining and held steady for the first time in 5 years.  Proudly, the brand team also reported a 17% increase in “is a brand Western Canadians can be proud of”, one of the key brand health attributes, and, when exposed to the movie, 51% of consumers felt stronger about the brand.


Objective #2: Drive increased consumer engagement with the brand


Brand communications throughout the initiative’s four phases drove significant engagement for the brand. 


  • The microsite created for this initiative had more than 400,000 visits and 160,000 engagements from April 2012 to April 2013.
  • On Facebook, fan acquisition surpassed target by 152%.  Fan engagement increased by 1,024% vs the average 6 months prior to the campaign.  Daily total impressions increased by 3,163% when measured against the previous 6 months.


Objective #3: Deliver market presence that exceeds its paid SOV


With a movie on the way, and the opportunity to be part of it, Kokanee didn’t have to rely on paid media to get its message out.  The brand activated all of its touch points to bring the movie to life.

  • Packaging promoted the movie front and centre, in our consumers’ hands. 
  • Many Western Canadian bars were keen to feature in the movie, and activated their Kokanee efforts in bars like never before.  One bar even purchased iPads to facilitate their patron’s voting.
  • Kokanee efforts to engage its fans in the movie’s production made for tremendous online presence and social activation: For example, the Kokanee trailer received over 100,000 completed views on YouTube, and Daily Total Impressions on Facebook reached 87,673,887 for April 2012 – March 2013.
  • The brand also received $10 million PR value and, of course, received even more attention when featured in theatres and other movie related content.  Originally slated for 20 theatres across the West, exhibitors sensed the momentum of the campaign and ended up securing 30 theatres for opening week.


Objective #4: Stop Kokanee’s share decline


Kokanee’s share performance shifted from a negative trajectory to a positive one.  The brand reported a 1.18% lift in the West, a significant improvement over a decline of over 11% reported in the year prior.


In addition to meeting, and exceeding, business objectives, Kokanee received a great deal of additional recognition:



- TV&Cinema Long form Branded Content Single - Shortlisted



Gold - Branded Content - Best Fictional Program, Series or Film Where a Client has successfully created a Drama, Comedy or Miniseries around a Product or Brand

Gold - Brand Content - Best Integrated Content Campaign 

Silver - Cyber Lions Best Digitally Led Integrated Campaign

Shortlisted - Promo & Activation-Product and Service Alcoholic Drinks  



Gold - Film/Theatrical and DVD Releases

Bronze - Innovation in Branded Content/Single



Won - Branded Content Series

Won - Cinema any length Single




Won - Integrated Campaign 

Won - Branded Content



Silver - Pushing the Boundaries Campaign


b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

Importantly, all of Kokanee’s marketing and sales activity from April 2012 to April 2013 was focused on the movie and its promotion, and as such, there were no other sales, marketing, or market influences that would explain for the positive business results.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:



Kokanee maintained its price to retailers across Western Canada.

Distribution Changes:


Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes:

Media – Media spend was down 14% versus the year prior (2011/2012).


Category – The Core segment, made up of brands like Budweiser, Molson Canadian and Kokanee, declined in Western Canada by 3.3% during April 2012 to April 2013.


Retail Promotions – The year prior featured the same number of retail promotions.  Also, all promotions featured in the period April 2012 to April 2013 were movie-related.