The beer category is recession-proof, and if the last eight months have proven anything, it’s pandemic-proof, too. But that doesn’t mean marketers are putting the pause on awareness campaigns. On the heels of being named The Most Recommended Beer in the U.K. by the YouGov Brand Index, Scottish craft beer brand Innis & Gunn, the No. 1 craft lager in Scotland and No. 1 imported craft beer in Canada, set out to “recommend consumers back” and reinforce brand awareness surrounding its lager. The digital and OOH campaign, “Recommend Our Recommenders,” went live with small-scale, COVID-safe activations in Toronto and Vancouver.
The eight-week campaign kicked off with a call-to-action for consumers to nominate a “recommender” they know (or themselves)—someone with a unique quality, like a great dancer, an inspiring front-line worker or a helpful neighbor, via a campaign microsite. The brand then activated outdoor photo activations in late September, where local consumers were invited to participate, post and spread the word on social media.
Ten recommenders were then chosen to star in a campaign shoot which was displayed in the two main markets, Toronto and Vancouver, with OOH ads and wild postings. Innis & Gunn also surprised select fans, beer enthusiasts and media who engaged with the campaign on social media with four-packs of their Lager beer in what they call “Random Acts of Pintness.”
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“It’s a difficult time balancing safety, but also making sure that as a company you’re able to sustain yourself. And as a beer brand, we have been quite fortunate in the sense that people are still buying our products and we’re positive about the outlook,” says Nicky Thomas, brand manager at Innis & Gunn. “But for us, it’s extremely important to make sure we’re staying in touch with consumers and connecting with them. This campaign has raised opportunities for us, securing new accounts, new consumers who want new brands to try, and bringing them happiness in a time where they may not always be at a high level of happiness.”
The campaign comes on the heels of a 2019 sampling campaign where Innis & Gunn distributed more than 15,000 custom lager cans with messaging honoring some of Toronto’s most iconic neighborhoods. The custom cans were printed in Toronto and distributed at street level by Innis & Gunn brand ambassadors.
“Experiential is an extremely important platform for us. Being able to have that face-to-face interaction has always been one of our main pillars from a marketing standpoint,” Thomas says. “If you look at all of the different marketing pillars we have, it’s actually the pillar we invest the most in, followed by digital and social, which are usually all about supporting our experiential activities.” Agency: Your Brand, Toronto.