James Ready grants wishes, shares radio time

Buck-a-beer is no more, but in a follow-up to its Andy award-winning campaign by Leo Burnett, the Niagara Falls-based lager is there for what ails y'all this summer.

Last year James Ready beer drinkers rallied to help keep the discount lager under a buck by sharing billboard space with the brand. This year, the discount brewer is turning over a new beercap by asking its loyal consumers what it can do for them.

In a new radio campaign developed by Leo Burnett and launched yesterday, the Niagara Falls-based brew is urging people to visit HowCanJRHelpYou.ca and tell them what they want. Basement re-panelling? Overseas trip to visit Grandma? By the summer’s end, James Ready will choose a minimum of five wishes to grant.

The brand’s also offering to share its radio space with consumers so that they can get their own messages out to the public. ‘Whether it’s to promote your band, whether you want to sell something, you want to say sorry to your girlfriend – we’re going to give you radio time to do whatever you’d like,’ Judy John, CCO at Leo Burnett, tells MiC. Last year’s ‘Share Our Billboard’ campaign, which invited consumers to share OOH space to help keep the per-bottle price low, received two gold trophies at the International Andy Awards, and also won Best of Show at the Obies.

Then the minimum price of beer was quietly raised to more than a dollar by the LCBO last year on the recommendation of the Ministry of Finance. ‘People have been really great about helping us, and then we found out that the price of the beer was going up, and we thought this was our chance to give back,’ says Natasha Dagenais, account director at Leo Burnett.

With media handled by Starcom MediaVest Group, advertising on numerous rock stations in seven different markets across Ontario, (including 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, 102 The Fox in North Bay and Virgin Radio 106.9 in Ottawa) began yesterday. By the end of May, John says they’ll start splicing together some of the fans’ messages and put them on air. ‘It’ll manifest itself in a lot of different ways, whether we read the message out loud, we get someone to do it, or we bring them in the studio. I think having variety is the key to it,’ she says.

In a James Ready tradition, Leo Burnett is also writing humorous suggestions on beercaps of the ways in which it can help, as well as through an in-case newsletter. ‘We’ve had huge success in building strong relationships with people who at first try us and then become loyal fans. The strategy for this year was just strengthening that relationship, and continuing to be the voice of our drinkers,’ says Dagenais.