A Beer for Self-Hating Canadians

Lots of Canadians responded to the recent Moneybox “Ad Report Card” on the Molson Canadian “Rant” ad. Some simply wanted to make disparaging remarks about American beer. But my attention was also drawn to an angle that I failed to pursue in my analysis, which was how this ad played in terms of Canada’s own battle of beer titans. The biggest rival to Molson is Labatt, which was purchased by a Belgium company called Interbrew in 1995, and makes Labatt Blue. (Molson has claimed that the ad significantly boosted its market share, though Labatt has pooh-poohed this.) One Labatt advertisement (which you can view here by way of; you’ll need the QuickTime plug-in) features a Canadian bear–well, a guy in a bear suit–who hears on the radio that Labatt Blue is available in the United States, and promptly moves to Manhattan. “If I can get the best part of Canada, and live in the States … you tell me, huh?” The tag at the end: “Labatt Blue: Pure Canada.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the homeland there, so you can see what Molson’s nationalist streak is playing against. Apparently Molson is going to continue along similar lines with a new ad that reportedly makes the point that Canadians are not especially polite people after all. Which, in light of some of the commentary Canadians sent me regarding American beer, Americans in general, and Moneybox in particular, seems like a fair point.