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279. Molson Canadian's New Ad, Logo & Packaging.

Over the holidays, smack dab in the middle of hockey season, and exactly on Boxing Day - Molson Canadian launched a new advertising campaign, new logo, and new packaging in an attempt to regain the brand's Canadian-ness. (Their word not mine.) This is simply a trifecta of design that we cannot ignore reporting, despite not being a big drinker.

The launch ad features overhead shots of Canada's natural beauty that would do very well as a tourism spot were it not for the over-grandiose voice-over talent providing a blue-collar tone: "We have more square feet of awesome per person than any other nation on Earth. There are thousands of fresh water lakes, and barley fields as far as the eye can see." The spot is overtly trying to connect the natural wonder of Canada to the quality of the beer as it ends with a Molson tap in the middle of a field of Barley. Okay. It's just a normal, well-shot beer spot and maybe there isn't anything wrong with that. Though the Canadian pride stuff seems far less authentic now that Molson is 58% owned by SABMiller.

Dave Bigioni, Brand Director for Canadian, said the campaign is an evolution of last year's The Code campaign. "Part of the idea with ‘The Code' was to get back to the brand's Canadian-ness," Bigioni said. "This new campaign is about sharing our point of view on what makes Canada great," and attempts to tie those pristine images of glaciers and golden fields to the bottled golden liquid. "We're rooting our message back in the quality credentials of the beer," he said. (Quotes courtesy from Canada's Marketing Magazine.)

Like I said, there's nothing mind-blowing about this spot produced by Toronto agency-of-record Zig, however additional pieces of this creative will be launching in February. They will include more broadcast, out of home, and the dream project for junior creative portfolios everywhere: in-bar advertising. Look out for all of that later next month.

Here's The Launch Spot:

The Old Logo:

The Old Bottle Label:

The new identity work features a more prominent and detailed red maple leaf than the previous design and is the work of Spring Design Partners out of New York. "We felt the branding needed a bit of an update to keep in touch with the times," Bigioni said. "We have a very iconic look. We didn't want to evolve too far from that, but the current identity had been in market for five years."

The new design features more shadowing and depth in the maple leaf, which is cropped off at the bottom and is no longer wet. Glad to see the wetness go and the crop is a better solution than having the stem stick down and muddle up the name. The typography of Canadian is still set in the familiar red and blue alternating characters but in a new face. (When combined with the leaf this color pattern is the heart of their identity and I don't think they'll ever change it.) It's hard to tell on the sample images if the new palette is lighter than the previous though it seems so. In terms of the typeface change, the new design goes from a slightly formal oblique condensed Optima-ish face to a firmly grounded and slightly modern condensed gothic. The typeface for Molson is the same though no longer italicized, thankfully.

Though I would have concerns about how consistently that leaf can be reproduced, this design evolution is a pretty solid effort. It's basically what you like to see when an identity is upgraded. You add something that freshens it up for the marketplace and yet you keep all the things you like about the old - particularly the design heritage. Look forward to seeing how this is carried out across all the channels. Well done.

The New Logo:

Comparison of Old & New:
The New Bottle:

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  • Response
    This new crusade speaks the truth sharing our perspective on what makes Canada incredible and endeavors to tie those flawless pictures of ice sheets and brilliant fields to the packaged brilliant fluid.
  • Response

Reader Comments (6)

Hey, it’s Scott Cooper here from the Molson Canadian brand team. Really appreciate your post about our recent brand refresh.

As you point out, our new design gets back to much more authentic cues, which we arrived at following an “archeological dig” to get back to the brands core. We’d gotten away from talking about what a fantastic beer this actually is, and the new ads are the start of getting back to that.

Also wanted to clarify your reference to the ownership structure of Molson Coors: The 58% ownership by SAB Miller is actually for Miller Coors, a US joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller. Molson Coors was a merger of 2 family businesses and we still maintain corporate offices in Montreal and Denver.

Thanks again for your thoughts on the brand. We’ll forward you the new ad when its ready.


January 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Cooper
Great new look! I'm impressed.
January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTSN
"Awesomeness" is not a word!
January 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkevin
Scott, Thanks for the info - the correction is appreciated and noted. It's nice to see brands interacting on a social level even if it's to nudge we amateur writers a bit on the facts. Ha.
January 25, 2010 | Registered Commenterjj
Huge Molson fan. Do you have a neon bar light with the new logo? Please say yes.
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Crainer
Scott - you mention that you wanted to get back to authentic cues ...
I could help noticing that it looks like John Molson's signature has been altered .. which one is more authentic - the current one on the Canadian pack .. or the one that had been on the previous packs?
December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHawk Eye

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