Molson Canadian 67

Packaged Goods--Beverage (SILVER)

Client Credits: Molson Coors Canada
David Bigioni, Sr Director, Marketing, Molson Brands
John Francis, Brand Manager

Agency Credits: CP+B
Aaron Starkman, Creative Director
Scott Park, Art Director
Peter Gardiner, Copywriter
Ryan Roberts, Planner
Naomi Olsen, Content Manager
Jennifer Dark, Studio Production
Arthur Fullerton, Director of Technology
Ravi Aujla, Interactive Designer
Waqar Ahmed, Developer
Rea Kelly, Agency Producer
Ian Campbell, Photography
Tara Handley, Producer
Angie Colgoni, Executive Producer
Wilfred Park, Production House
Kevin Donovan, Director
Panic & Bob, Editing House
Matthew Kett, Editor
RMW Music, Music Company
Ted Rosnick, Music Director

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 2. Brand Truths.
Crossover Note 10. Conventional Wisdom—should it be challenged?
Crossover Note 11. The Eureka Insight.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):October 2009 - September 2010
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: October 2009
Base Period as a Benchmark: N/A because this is a new product

a) Overall Assessment
“Light beer has 400 calories!” Focus group respondent, April 2009.

The Canadian beer market has stagnated and everyone is trying to steal a share from everyone else. At about $20 million in profit per share point, who can blame them? The prize is huge and there are only two ways to get a piece of it: steal market share from another brand or entice new drinkers into the category.

We took a more unusual and difficult approach to expanding the market.

There are a number of reasons why the beer market is flat, but what caught our attention is that people are drinking less beer and more wine and mixed drinks. One explanation for this is that in a culture obsessed with perfect bodies, the infamous beer belly has given the category a bad name. Another factor is that beer’s down-to-earth image is under attack by a shift toward more sophisticated tastes.

Within the beer category, light beers are winning the war. You might think that this is because they have fewer calories than regular beer, but that’s never really been communicated. In fact, most marketers believe that people don’t want to acknowledge they’re even drinking a light beer.

We saw an opportunity. People were giving up beer because their needs weren't being met.

b) Resulting Business Objectives
We set out to launch Molson Canadian 67, the lowest calorie beer in Canada. Our objectives were:

- By the end of 2010, to represent 0.20% of the English Canada beer market.

- To source at least half of the volume from people who usually chose wine, cocktails and coolers.

c) Annual Media Budget
$4 - $5 million

d) Geographic Area
English Canada

a) Analysis and Insight
We knew that a low calorie beer ran the risk of being seen as a “chick beer,” but we also knew that appealing to both men and women was necessary in order to expand the market. However, appealing to both was going to be a challenge. Targeting women in beer advertising runs the risk of alienating men. We had to find common ground.

We set out in search of insights, so one thing we did was ask people how many calories were in their favourite drinks. Their answers were all over the map. Most people underestimated the calories in wine and cocktails, while overestimating the calories in beer. But all of their answers were far from the truth.

The common ground was the contradiction they shared. [Crossover Note 11] Everyone thought that they knew how many calories were in their favourite drinks, but they were entirely misinformed. [Crossover Note 2]

b) Communication Strategy
Armed with this insight, the brand promise became clear. Molson Canadian 67 empowers people with the truth about calories.

The crux of the strategy was rooted in the product. At just 67 calories, Molson Canadian 67 has about half the calories of wine and mixed drinks.

Comparing Molson Canadian 67 to other alcoholic beverages allowed us to position the brand outside the traditional beer category. We wanted Molson Canadian 67 to feel comfortable in more sophisticated and mature environments. After all, this wasn’t your frat house brew. [Crossover Note 10] This was a premium light beer that was the lowest calorie choice available.

The target audience was calorie conscious men and women who lived in urban or suburban areas and often chose alcoholic beverages other than beer. The target age for men was 30-plus, while for women was 24-plus. This difference is because most men don’t care about calories until they’re a older, while women start to care at an earlier age. We bridged the gap by appealing to the common ground, calorie confusion, and acknowledged that their life stage wasn’t all that different after all, despite their age.

a) Media Used
- Television
- Print
- Online
- Out-of-home
- PR

b) Creative Discussion
We knew that we couldn’t just tell people Molson Canadian 67 had fewer calories. We’d have to show them in no uncertain terms. Creative therefore relied on the striking visual contrast between 67 calories of wine or mixed drinks and 67 calories of Molson Canadian 67. Tiny glasses illustrated this in an unexpected way. The tagline challenged the audience by stating “you can have a little, or you can have it all.”

Television creative key. It was used to tell the low-calories story and to address the cultural shift toward more sophisticated tastes. Casting and location were carefully chosen to portray Molson Canadian 67 in the right atmosphere and as the hero of the scenarios.

There were two waves of television. The first wave (Exhibit A) launched the idea and set the product in a sophisticated bar-style environment. The second wave (Exhibit B) built on the first and introduced the product into a new and important environment – the house party. Moving the campaign into the home-environment was a strategic decision, because retail volume is key to winning the lucrative summer months.

Print and out-of-home executions were kept simple and consistent through the entire results period with the addition of several joint editorial pieces. The traditional print focused on a side-by-side comparison. Several executions, each featuring a different drink, told the story. (Exhibit C)

A PR campaign used key influencers. For instance, Flare magazine featured the new brand and stated “Drink beer to fit into your bridal gown!” Canadian Running said, “Calorie conscious runners who still want to enjoy a cold beverage after a run now have a new brew to quaff.”

Interactive online banners encouraged people to experience the truth for themselves. The ads (Exhibit D) first prompted them with a simple question, “What does a 67-calorie vodka martini look like?” Once the person was engaged, the ad expanded so that they could see what 67 calories of their favourite beverage looked like in comparison to Molson Canadian 67.

c) Media Discussion
Reaching calorie conscious men and women was a challenge. The approach was to reach them in unexpected environments, while building mass awareness through conventional media (that is, media that is typically used to advertise beer).

Specialty television, magazine, online and fitness centre advertising were used to reach unexpectedly into the target audience’s lifestyle. For example, Flare, Fashion, Chatelaine, Toronto Life and Food & Drink rarely feature beer advertising. In fact, they often featured wine and spirit advertising. Similar choices were made for specialty television and online.

Conventional television and out-of-home billboards were used to generate mass awareness.

The blocking chart, Exhibit E, shows how the campaign rolled out over the results period.

a) Sales/Share Results
Our objective was to source volume from other alcoholic beverages. Post launch research shows that we are achieving this objective. Over half of all Molson Canadian 67 drinking occasions replaced another type of alcoholic beverage, as shown in Exhibit F.

To provide perspective, Exhibit G illustrates that Molson Canadian 67 sources more volume from wine, cooler and cider drinkers than from its parent brand, Molson Canadian.

In terms of absolute sales the objective was to achieve 0.20% of the English Canada beer market by the end of 2010. The brand exceeded that goal in the first three months and virtually doubled the objective, reaching 0.39% by the end of the results period. Monthly volume targets, which were projected from the initial product concept test, were consistently doubled. In fact, the total volume over the results period more than doubled the projection. Exhibit H illustrates the success.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
There was more to capturing 0.39% of the market than just being on the shelf. The success of the brand can be tracked to the value of its advertising.

People took note of the Tiny Glasses, and they understood the message. Ad recognition was above norm for both waves of the campaign, as was comprehension of the main message: Molson Canadian 67 has about half the calories of wine or mixed drinks. (Exhibit I and Exhibit J)

People also found the advertising to be unique, appealing and talk-worthy. Exhibit K illustrates this and shows how the important female segment found the ads to be of particular value, significantly over-indexing all measures. Exhibit L also shows how the measures continued to improve during the second wave of the campaign.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: • Investment levels for the launch of Molson Canadian 67 were not unusual.

Pricing: • Pricing was aligned with mainstream beers, such as Molson Canadian or Coors Light, and there was very limited discount pricing during the results period.

Distribution Changes: • Distribution was an important part of the plan, but was taken into consideration when the objectives were established. Also, the distribution was standard in the beer industry.

Unusual Promotional Activity: • No unusual promotional activity was undertaken during the results period.

Other Potential Causes: n/a