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Boonie’s Over Beer?!

Le Challenge
Australian culture has developed a deep loyalty to beer, a beverage that many see as part of the country’s national identity. When Canadian Club approached Burson-Marsteller to help drive awareness of its ready-to-drink (RTD) product, Canadian Club & Dry, Burson was challenged with finding a way to encourage dedicated beer drinkers to try something new.

The initial “Over Beer?” campaign launched in 2010 as a creative marketing campaign that positioned the Canadian whiskey brand to consumers as a refreshing new alternative to beer. In 2011, Burson rejuvenated Canadian Club’s “Over Beer?” message by presenting it to Australian consumers through spokesperson David Boon (“Boonie”), Australian cricket legend and iconic beer drinker. At the time, Australians strongly associated Boonie with beer after he allegedly drank 52 beers on a flight between Sydney and London. This inventive juxtaposition around the question “Is Boonie…and Australia…Over Beer?!” aimed to create buzz and generate national media coverage and, in turn, increase product sales.

Burson implemented a targeted, paparazzi-style campaign to ignite media interest in why Boonie might be “Over Beer?” and drinking a Canadian Club RTD beverage. The team seeded unbranded video content of Boonie caught out drinking a Canadian Club RTD with social, online and gossip media to spark their interest. This teaser was followed by a national media outreach program, which highlighted the results of a Burson survey of 1,200 Australian drinkers. The survey generated supporting facts that Australians are “Over Beer?” just like Boonie. The team combined these results with a supporting Australian Bureau of Statistics study, which showed that beer sales were at a 60-year low. Burson media strategy targeted national mainstream, trade, marketing and consumer media to position the Canadian Club brand and products as the respondent to these provocative survey results, adding relevance and bringing the message back to the brand. The team used the combination of Boonie as talent and the research as evidence to drive national broadcast coverage, provoking lively discussions on current affairs programs including The Project and Sunrise.

The exposure created by Burson’s PR strategy for the “Boonie’s Over Beer?!” campaign directly impacted Canadian Club’s sales, resulting in a 70 percent growth in sales and the brand retaining the prestigious title of ‘Australia’s Fastest Growing Alcohol Trademark’ for the second year in a row. The team negotiated an exclusive with The Australian to drive further brand awareness and amplify campaign messages, resulting in front page coverage. The campaign reached more than 28 million people through national print and online media, including The Herald Sun, The Project, Courier Mail and Maxim.