Shaken, Stirred or Canadian? For many Canadian men the choice is simple. Often having discovered a brand early in life and then sticking with what he knows, the Canadian man strongly believes that “Canadian beer is the best beer in the world”. These steadfast loyalists are a hard group to win over. As 41% of men claim they “seldom experiment with other beverages or brands”, this means their weekly LCBO trips are not to browse, but to buy the exact same drink they purchased the week before. How do we get them to buy something new when they believe what they already have is the very best?
Many beer companies portray men’s lifestyle in their advertising, such as the (in)famous Budweiser “Wassup” of ’99 that cause phone-answering havoc amongst men for well over two years. However, the sales figures compared with the incredible number of Wassups heard was not equal. Budweiser turned things around and increased sales by not portraying the lifestyle but re-positioning the beer as a reflection of a man’s identity with “The Perfect Pour” of 2002.
To move the needle on sales and gain intensely brand-loyal Canadians, brewers need to first persuade the man to try something new. Brands such as Smirnoff Black and Coors Light have made headway by creating events that speak to “The Modern Gentleman” by offering golf tours and style advice. In Canada, Absolut Vodka paired very effectively with SHARP Magazine for Men when they co-hosted the magazine’s spring launch with an event in Toronto. Event designer Candice Chan developed the event to “ensure that men get some facetime with the sponsors” by having mixologists on hand to teach men how to make their cocktails at the bar a with one-on-one lessons.
In another instance, a menu-card was created based on the insight that “people have their preferences clear in a bar, especially when it comes to alcohol”. The illustrated card gave options while telling a comical story and resulted in regular patrons demanding drinks and cocktails they had never tried before. The cards were such a hit that more had to be produced as a number of them went missing every night. This experiment proved that men, by nature, are an exploratory group; by engaging that “explorer”, brands can tip the scale in their favor.
The relationship of a man to his drink is a unique bond. Many men often discover a brand early in life and then stick with it. But by creating a brand experience that is an extension of who he wants to be, brands can make a connection for life.
Print Measurement Bureau Autumn 2011
A 2010 study done by a leading Canadian Retailer