What James Ready began with billboards ended at the altar last weekend when the brewer’s 2009 campaign wrapped up with a sponsored wedding in Windsor, Ont.
James Ready had asked its drinkers “How Can James Ready Help You?” as a follow up to its award-winning 2008 user-generated billboard campaign that asked consumers to “help” keep its sticker price down by providing creative for billboards. That campaign, from agency of record Leo Burnett, won a gold Lion in Cannes and Best of Show at the 2009 Marketing Awards.
To thank its fans for “keeping JR a buck,” the company began taking requests for help.
Several smaller requests were honoured at little or no cost throughout the campaign, from naming beer-league baseball teams to making T-shirts for a cancer patient.
But five larger requests were singled out for more significant “sponsorship.” One James Ready drinker got a Christmas flight home to Newfoundland to visit his mom, while another was flown to B.C. to attend a reunion. Another brand fan was provided with a Halloween costume “to become James Ready,” and one mother received a guitar and amplifier to give her son for his birthday.
The final request was honoured May 1 when Dean and Cori-Ann Litster held their James Ready wedding. Leo Burnett created invitations out of beer labels, provided bottle cap cuff links, brought a bottle-topped wedding cake, and provided the reception with beverages. As a wedding present, the brand team even bought the couple a night in a Toronto hotel.
“We did all we could, aside from the renting of the hall, to give them a fun wedding,” said Sean Barlow, group creative head at Leo Burnett and one of six agency staff who attended the wedding. “As part of the wedding speeches, the [James Ready] name kept coming up over and over, unsolicited. We told them ‘This isn’t about beer, this is about your wedding.’ But unsolicited, we just became part of the speeches.”
Leo Burnett is currently testing its newest James Ready campaign in Southern Ontario. In keeping with the brand’s discount vibe, small-scale discounts are available at local businesses in Windsor for those who photograph billboard “coupons” with their mobile phones.
Discounts include $1 off sausage at Motor Burger, or 10% off pots at Martha’s Greenhouse. Each board has copy that reads “Helping you save $26.10 for James Ready beer.”