Tom Dick & Harry’s Moose Call

Philadelphia Daily News: Seen those posters for Moosehead around town? They’ve been popping up on telephone poles on South Street, Old City and elsewhere. No names, no ad copy, just a green silhouette of a moose head.
You’re witnessing the start of a quirky marketing campaign to revive one of Canada’s classic but forgotten lagers. Whether it works or not, Moosehead’s effort to rebuild its brand reveals much about how beer-makers struggle to win hearts and mouths in a world dominated by BudMillerCoors.
Twenty years ago, Moosehead was the No. 3 imported beer in America, behind Heineken and Lowenbrau. Today, unless you live near the brewery in St. John’s, Canada, it’s practically extinct.
Moosehead faded till it became almost a nostalgic thirst-quencher. According to Shamus Hanlon, brand group director of marketing for its current importer, Gambrinus Co., the average Moosehead drinker is 42. Its biggest fans are guys who guzzled it with abandon in college but who now have gray hair, a mortgage and a wife who’s on his case to lose that gut.
When the brewery’s marketers and ad agency, Tom, Dick & Harry of Chicago, asked its target audience what one image they had of Moosehead, they kept coming back to the damn moose. Not the goofy one in Saturday morning cartoons. For younger people, there was something appealing – positive and independent – about a 7-foot tall creature with skinny legs and a rack of antlers the width of a Winnebago.
Moosehead’s moose is meaningful, intelligent and… horny.
A copy on one upcoming ad explains, “Before mating, a male must follow a female around for a week. One night in a bar doesn’t seem so bad.” Another says, “During courtship, a moose’s neck becomes swollen, his eyes bloody and his temper short. But at least he doesn’t have to dance.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.