Cannes Lions

Hockey Night In Canada, Multilingual Edition

RETHINK, Toronto / MOLSON / 2022

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

For years, Molson Canadian proudly held the title as Canada’s unofficial beer of hockey. But when American competitors like Budweiser began outspending us, Canada’s beer was knocked off the mantle of Canada’s sport.

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world, but Canada’s game isn’t very diverse at all. With 93% of hockey players identifying as white, and with national broadcasts only in English and French, the sport was not as inclusive as our nation and far from representative of our cultural mosaic. That’s why, for many, becoming a hockey fan was almost as daunting as playing the sport itself - particularly if they don’t “speak hockey,” making language a key barrier to entry for many.

Molson Canadian set out not just to reinstate itself as the beer of hockey, but to grow hockey itself by finding a way to make it accessible for all.

Idea

As the beer with the country’s name on it, Molson Canadian had to be the catalyst in reshaping hockey culture to truly reflect our country.

For the first time in history, Hockey Night in Canada was broadcast in 7 additional languages, opening up the sport to millions of Canadians on behalf of Molson Canadian and Sportsnet. On April 24, 2021, we broadcasted the Maple Leafs vs. Canucks and the Oilers vs. Jets games in 7 additional languages (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, and Arabic).

The seven languages selected were the most commonly spoken in each Canadian city with an associated NHL team, and represented the mosaic of current and prospective hockey fans coast-to-coast.

The initiative was also supported at retail with limited-edition multilingual cans of Molson Canadian, reflecting the languages spoken in our trailblazing broadcasts.

Strategy

Our tailored media relations strategy focused on driving home the core insight and inspiration behind the campaign.

Canada is widely known for its diverse population, and through our emphasis of embracing an international mosaic, we celebrate the myriad of differing cultures and spoken languages that call our country home.

When we speak about things that make our country unique, our national sport is a part of our country’s DNA and has brought generations of people from different walks of life together over the love of the game. But there is an opportunity for Canada’s game to bring Canadians, new and old, together. Over a love of the game, and a love of what we stand for as Canadians.

We wanted to speak directly to new Canadians where we knew they were listening. So, we built in ethnic media outlets as a central component to our media pitching strategy.

Execution

We kicked off this initiative by airing the :30 co-branded TV spot during regular Hockey Night in Canada programming. Then, digital and social placements drove to the branded streaming platform where games would be streamed in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, and Arabic.

Finally, on April 24, 2021, Molson Canadian broadcasted the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks game followed by the Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets game in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, and Arabic.

To further build momentum, PR kicked in with influencer content, TV personalities, and TV segments including Breakfast Television and Tim & Friends. Plus, PR pitching and coverage was secured in each of the 7 languages with language-specific outlets to further help the brand speak directly to the new Canadian communities. We also created multilingual hockey lingo sheets in each of the 7 languages.

Outcome

Having surpassed the earned media impressions program goal by 254%, the campaign generated a total of 32M impressions across paid media channels, 5.6M impressions across owned social media channels, and a whopping 55.5M impressions across earned and sponsored media.

We achieved an outlet relevance of 90%, well surpassing the program goal by 150%. Key message penetration and positive editorial sentiment also beat campaign benchmarks, by 121% and 133% respectively.

From a business standpoint, the campaign also surpassed purchase intent benchmarks by 103%, while also driving a 108% increase in sales volumes from the prior month. In fact, sales volumes continued to experience positive growth for a 3-month streak following the campaign going live.

We spoke to millions of Canadians in their native language, and streamed games for fans at home and abroad. We didn’t just translate a game; we translated a sport. 7 languages down. 187 to go.

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