Trying too hard to hit the number

Trying too hard to hit the number

Molson Canadian is a popular beer in Canada.

Canada became a country in 1867.

Michelob is making lots of money with a low calorie beer (Michelob Ultra) in the US.

Moosehead has launched a low calorie beer called Cracked Canoe (which apparently doesn’t taste great either)

I would have loved to have been in the brainstorm where the brand managers at Molson decided their competitive response would be Molson Canadian 67, the beer that has only 67 calories per 330ml bottle.  It’s clever, I admit, but unfortunately too clever for its own good.

1. It tastes like a hybrid of spring water and lager – the flavour is not great. This is likely to be symptomatic of forcing a formula that has exactly 67 calories.

2. It can only ever be sold in 330ml bottles and cans; any other size would throw the meaning of 67 out the window

3. 67 is a very important number to Canadians – it’s a shame the brand extension was wasted on the literal calorie tie-in

Numbers are difficult to bring into a brand name. The number should mean something cardinal or ordinal (higher than something, lower than something or specific amount of something) or it should be associative with part of the brand story (for example Kronenbourg 1664 associates with the year Kronenbourg was established). The number should not try to do both… that’s when it’s too clever for its own good.

And if you only want 1/2 the alcohol and calories of a regular beer, why not do what my dad used to do? Pour half the bottle into a small glass for him, and the other half for my mom (or me if I was lucky).

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. I guess my one question here is whether consumers actually expect a “diet” beer to taste as good as the real deal. I accept the lack of taste for the trade off in calories…but then again, I’ve bought into the whole Coke Zero phenomenon as well (Diet Coke for boys).

    When I looked at this number, I also though that Molson was trying to target the most loyal of loyal fan bases. The Toronto Maple Leaf fans. 1867 was Confederation…but a century later….1967 is the last year the Leafs won the cup. While it’s not necessarily a positive brand reminder of the Leafs, it’s a core part of Leaf fan heritage and something for them to rally around. And we all know those Leaf fans will buy anything affiliated with their team….I’m just not quite sure they want to diminish their beer drinking experience since that’s the one thing they have going for them while they watch their team miss the playoffs for yet another year.

    I see this flopping at the end of the hockey year….disappearing…much like their attempt to break into the energy drink market with their Molson Kick (plastic bottle) “beer”. “Kick” is what I wanted to do to myself as I realized I was drinking semi-warm beer in a plastic bottle…

    PS – I’m an Ottawa fan in Ontario. 🙂

  2. I can’t really say that I agree with you about canadian 67. I have been a molson canadian drinker for years but since i’ve been going to the gym I decided to give 67 a try. I really enjoyed the taste of this beer I mean I didn’t expect it to taste as good as a regular but I didn’t think I would care for it much the beer definatly exceeded my expectations. I was actually impressed and I am thinking about making this beer my permanent brand. Brian I can’t allow them to take this beer off the shelves even if I am the only guy that buys it I will support them lol.

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Brand Architecture, Brand Design, Brand Reminders, Product Differentiation