Alexander Keith’s keeps it real

A re-branding campaign with a message of authenticity uses 15-second spots and online placements on conventional networks to reach a mass beer-inclined audience, and will be followed with experiential efforts.

Alexander Keith’s is targeting consumers who stay true to their values – pub-goers who do not pop their collars because it’s the cool thing to do, or show more interest in their cellphones than in attractive women. The ‘Hold True’ campaign, developed by Publicis, embraces Canadians’ desire for authenticity and celebrates Labatt-owned Alexander Keith’s East Coast history. Media, handled by M2 Universal, is largely television-based but also includes a heavy online buy, billboards and spots in cinemas.

The 15-second videos, which debuted this past weekend during CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, are part of an all-encompassing ‘very conventional, very mass,’ media strategy, explains Jamie Humphries, marketing director, Alexander Keith’s. ‘In terms of online, that means that we’re also looking at portals such as Yahoo, MSN and more specifically some sport sites – TSN,, CBC Sports,’ he tells .

‘With Alexander Keith, we think we’ve got a lot of substance and a lot of credibility,’ says Humphries of the authenticity message that their target consumers (males aged 25-plus) share with the brand’s founding brewer. Later this month, Keith’s will make sure that the campaign message is brought to life through experiential executions (for which details have not yet been revealed), such as sponsoring an indie band or asking consumers to share a time when they’ve had to stay true to themselves, for example, Humphries explains.

Also unrolling this month is a new website and packaging redesign on bottles and cans, created by Toronto-based design agency Shikatani Lacroix. The new look adds retail visibility with a contemporary twist on the brand’s usual focus on quality and heritage, Humphries says.

‘We’re connecting on an emotional level versus just a strictly functional level. We’re not claiming that our beer is the coldest beer in the world – we’re claiming that our beer stands up for something that our consumer believes in.’