How does James Ready spell success? How about M-U-L-L-E-T and U-N-I-B-R-O-W? They are among the words contestants are required to spell in a new Facebook initiative from the brewer called the “James Ready Spelling Bee Lottery.”
The contest, which launched in late July and runs through Dec. 23, offers participants the chance to win prizes ranging from a hockey stick and a lawn gnome to more enticing items such as a hibachi and a leather jacket.
The Toronto-based discount brewer is currently distributing cases of beer with letters stamped underneath each bottle cap. Each Tuesday and Thursday, it posts a video on its Facebook page describing that day’s prize and a word that participants have to spell.
The first person to post a picture of the word spelled in beer caps on the James Ready Facebook page wins that day’s prize.
Steve Persico, group creative director/writer for the brewer’s agency – Toronto-based Leo Burnett – said the contest arose out of the beer brand’s affinity for under-cap marketing programs that have already led to a James Ready Cap Calendar and a board game.
“It was born out of that brief that we always get, which is ‘Let’s do something cool under the cap’ and we really wanted to bring a Facebook element or video element to it,” said Persico.
The contest videos, too, are in keeping with James Ready’s deliberately low-budget approach to advertising. A hand is shown periodically spinning a turntable bearing the product, while captions attempt to highlight the “features” of even the most mundane products.
A recent prize of a “salon-ish hair dryer,” for example, noted features such as “semi-hot air comes out here,” a “trigger grip” and its ability to work on “mullets, perms, jheri curls, mushroom cuts and more.”
The brand is using its own media channels – in-case newsletters and messages on the back of its labels – to drive awareness of the contest. “With our budget, we can’t buy tons of radio or TV and print. We’re always doing things that are free or cheap,” said Persico.
“It doesn’t feel right for the brand to do television and stuff like that,” added Anthony Chelvanathan, group creative director/art director.
James Ready began incorporating Facebook into its marketing strategy about two years ago and has amassed a loyal following of nearly 5,300 people. The brand also tries to respond to every message it receives from customers.
“People feel like when they want to say something, we’re going to listen and respond,” said Chelvanathan.