Okanagan Spring is a non-corporate sponsor

The BC brewery is spending its sponsorship bucks on backyard barbecues.

Vernon, BC-based brewery Okanagan Spring sponsored partying in BC and Alberta this summer, no matter how small the affair, and are currently touting the non-corporate activities it got behind.

The first phase of the campaign featured print and radio ads alerting consumers to the sponsorship opportunities with communications like ‘Your poker night deserves sponsorship too’. The ads push to SponsorMeSpring.ca, where hopeful hosts could upload a video explaining why their event – from a stag to a foosball tournament - deserves sponsorship. Visitors vote for their faves, and each month a winner receives sponsorship from Okanagan. The brewer also handpicks entries it believes worthy of backing. After the first round of sponsorships, a new set of ads were created featuring the actual sponsored events. Communications included messages like ‘Proud sponsor of going fishing at Jeff’s cabin,’ ‘Proud sponsor of Travis and Christine’s backyard BBQ,’ and ‘Proud sponsor of hanging around after Ed’s soccer game.’

With creative by TBWAVancouver and media planning and purchasing by Genesis, the sponsorship program is also being supported by OOH. While a craft beer brand like Okanagan Spring tends to attract a slightly older beer drinker, the campaign aimed to target a younger crowd. ‘We wanted to make sure we didn’t alienate the brand’s core customers, because they’re the ones who have supported the brand for the last 20 years,’ says TBWAVancouver’s director of client services Stefan Hawes, ‘but at the same time we thought about how could we go a little bit younger to get a different audience besides the core craft beer drinker, because that’s a limited number of people.’

The first month of the campaign saw a 10% increase in sales for the brewer, and the website received 13,000 hits in its first two months. Hawes says Okanagan Spring is considering continuing its sponsorship program after the summer marketing campaign ends.