Diageo teams up with HNIC to face off with beer

Crown Royal hopes to score new fans with its 'For Every King a Crown' integrated push which teams whiskey with hockey, and ultimately, to draft beer drinkers via its hookup with HNIC.

Diageo Canada is trying to turn Saturdays into whiskey night in Canada with a new campaign for its Crown Royal brand.

Developed by a quartet of agencies – Grey Canada, MediaCom, Tribal DDB and The Marketing Store – the ‘For Every King a Crown’ campaign includes TV, print, online and in-store elements.

The campaign focuses on shared moments between friends – particularly those relating to hockey – and underscores how Crown Royal can help celebrate those moments. A 30-second spot depicts a group of friends on and off the ice, featuring the line ‘For every king, a brotherhood. For every king, a crown.’

The campaign also features an association with CBC Television’s Hockey Night in Canada, in which Crown Royal is sponsoring a new segment honouring three stars of the game. Three 10-second spots appearing throughout the telecast communicate the would-be ritual of a Crown and cola, while five-second brand spots encourage viewers to ‘Crown the Moment’ when the game begins or the home team scores.

Andrea Cook, VP group account director for Grey Canada, says the goal is to position Crown Royal both as a potential alternative to beer when gathering with friends to watch the game, and as a brand suitable for everyday occasions.

‘The thinking was ‘How can we get at those beer occasions?’ and in Canada, hockey is an occasion where you kick back and enjoy life,’ she says. ‘[Crown Royal] is a top-shelf type of product, and we don’t want people letting dust collect on it and opening it only when it’s an anniversary or when you get a promotion.’

According to Cook, the campaign is the result of ‘tons’ of research into whether whiskey and hockey are a natural fit and identifying opportunities when the brand could be linked with the game. ‘This campaign draws on the relationship between the Crown Royal brand and the Canadian hockey fan,’ said Rudy Aldana, marketing director for Diageo Canada, in a release.

The on-air material is supported by print ads, as well as on-premise and point-of-sale material. One print ad features a group of friends hanging out at a bar enjoying Crown Royal cocktails, one of them indicating a missing tooth. The accompanying copy reads ‘For every king, a battle wound. For every king, a Crown. Why not make it a Crown and cola.’

There is also a promotional element, called the ‘Crown Royal King of the Game’ contest. Developed by The Marketing Store, the contest offers consumers a chance to win a VIP trip for two to a HNIC game of their choice. The contest is housed on a co-branded Crown Royal and CBC microsite within CBC.ca that was developed by Tribal DDB.