Better Than the Average Bear?

APL Hopes So in New TV Spots for Labatt
NEW YORK–In an attempt to establish Labatt Blue beyond Canadian border markets and nudge its price upward, Ammirati Puris Lintas employs a man in a bear suit for the beer’s first U.S.-only campaign.
In the first spot, the bear hops a bus from “up North” to New York after hearing that Labatt Blue is available in the States.
The commercials go on to chronicle his urban adventures: an attempt to buy beer without a driver’s license; a friendship he strikes up with Japanese patrons of a sushi bar; and a bar stool encounter with a beautiful woman who invites him home. The humor stems from the premise that people are intrigued by him not as a bear, but as a Canadian. The tagline is “Labatt Blue: Pure Canada.”
“The concept is set on U.S. soil [for] the first time,” said senior brand manager Devin Kelly–last year’s campaign featured an impromptu hockey game on the streets of Toronto.
The effort is in contrast to Miller Brewing’s Molson ads with the fictional McKenzie brothers, which have been criticized as too downscale for an import. Labatt executives would not discuss that campaign, but Kelly said, “In all cases, we’re going to take the high road.” The budget is estimated at $12-15 million, and includes a first network TV buy.