Clearly Canadian to star in US reality series

How a eureka moment led to getting beaucoup brand exposure without spending a cent.

Desperate times call for creative measures, and that’s what ‘came out of the blue’ recently in the Vancouver offices of Clearly Canadian Beverage, says its president. Brent Lokash tells MiC he was brainstorming with his team about how best to promote an upcoming relaunch on an ad budget of roughly zip.

Clearly Canadian enjoyed a gangbusters start-up in 1988, when it launched its pioneering line of sparkling flavoured waters. But after expensive recent acquisitions that added snack foods and more types of sparkling waters to its product line-up, the company was struggling. The first priority in its comeback plan, says Lokash, was to significantly increase its distributor base in the US, where the majority of sales take place.

How to accomplish this by somehow boosting brand awareness without spending a fortune on advertising was the question. The answer arrived in a eureka moment, when someone suggested doing a behind-the-scenes, cliffhanger reality show of the company execs wheeling, dealing and strategizing. ‘It’s something that hadn’t been done before, which is kind of amazing,’ Lokash recalls.

So he proposed this new kind of reality show to a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, who took it to a producer, who shopped it to Canadian and American networks (which Lokash declines to identify). The New York-based INHD/MOJO network snapped it up for an initial run of eight 30-minute episodes of an as yet unnamed show, which will premiere early next year. The all-HD net claims to have 12 million subscribers and is broadcast by various US cable operators including Time Warner, Comcast, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Mediacom and Patriot.