Languages and a Canadian Beer Fridge

by | Aug 15, 2017

Even though languages can sometimes put your marketing campaigns on ice, that’s definitely not the case for brewing company, Molson Coors Canada. They’re embracing language, and rewarding language diversity with fridge-fulls of beer.

Molson Coors Canada first grabbed headlines with its beer fridge at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Shipped to the Russian venue from Canada, and painted in the red and white colours of the Canadian flag, it could only be opened once a Canadian passport was entered into a digital reader integrated in the door of the fridge. The beer fridge was also transported to venues like London and Brussels – even the Belgian countryside – and once opened, by a Canadian passport holder, the contents were shared by everyone around.

The fridge was then modified for last year’s Canada Day celebrations. This time, the beer fridge could be opened by someone singing Canada’s national anthem, O Canada, to it.

Pushing the ever-evolving concept of their beer fridge even further, it has undergone another modification, this time for the start of the Pan-American Games that begin this week in the Canadian city of Toronto, Ontario. Using search engine giant Google’s Speech Recognition API, the fridge will open after the phrase “I am Canadian” is spoken to it – but in order to open, the fridge needs to be told that in six different languages. The fridge comes with a digital panel that tracks the languages that have been successfully used as well as the phrase that has been used – so people can see in their own language(s), exactly which have already been used and cannot be duplicated in order for the fridge to open.

Not only is the “I am Canadian” phrase a touch of patriotic pride for the company, the oldest brewery in North America, but its flagship beer product is called Molson Canadianknown across the country by beer lovers simply as “Canadian”. That ties in the phrase, “I am Canadian” to both their beer and cider products. As well, since Canada prides itself on having deep multicultural roots, the variety of languages needed to open the fridge and the co-operative spirit it will take to actually do it adds an element of fun to the beer-fridge opening puzzle. The entire concept is quite genius!

Adam Green, Creative Agency Lead at Google Canada says the digital concept was there from the start.

“Great creative executions are achievable when you include digital as part of early strategic thinking,” Green says. “Google APIs helped make it happen, but at the heart of this campaign was a brilliant concept.”

The creative agency behind the beer fridge concept is Rethink Communications, who were charged with the task of reigniting the Molson Canadian brand, which had been in decline for a decade. The visibility and success of the first iteration of the beer fridge, the passport-reader, generated $160 million in PR value globally – three times the brand’s media budget.

The beer fridge will be accessible to the athletes attending the Pan-Am and ParaPan-Am Games at an athletes’ venue where they can relax, watch live events — and work together to try and get the fridge opened. The native languages spoken by the vast majority of the athletes who will be in attendance are English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. A total of 41 countries will be represented in the Games which go until July 25th.


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