Redhook, founded in 1981, is one of the original PNW craft breweries. While Redhook has had to weather a barrage of upstart micro-brewers, they have maintained a stable presence in Seattle. But only 12% surveyed recalled the brand in other neighboring states.
On the bright side, Imperial IPAs are the hottest thing in craft beer at the moment, and Redhook's Big Ballard IPA has risen to the number 4 overall IPA in Washington. With Redhook not running any sort of media campaign in the past 5+ years, it was time to seize on the Big Ballard momentum and use its popularity to further grow brand awareness in Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho.
Research gave us a good amount of information on what consumers knew and thought about Big Ballard. We learned that Big Ballard is seen as a “big” IPA with higher ABV. The beer is also associated with having a lot of character, being bold, and being a heavy hitter. We also discovered that people see Redhook and Big Ballard as a traditional, friendly, masculine beer. A beer that gets the job done and does it at fair price. For our target audience who are starved for time and easily overwhelmed by the beer aisle, how could we recharge the Redhook brand while introducing more IPAs under the Big Ballard line?
The insights revealed an opportunity to call on ol’ Captain Ballard, the legend featured on Redhook and Big Ballard cans. He could embody a no-nonsense, end of a hard days’ work, cold frosty reward. We started by giving him a new bar call nickname – “Big Bill” Ballard. Every captain needs a crew, so Big Bill launched a call for like-minded captains, searching for the captain in all of us. Big Ballard drinkers like to go big, even if they're just going big at home. We sought out and photographed everyday folks, real IPA drinkers who were willing to join the crew and don the captain's iconic mustache. From there, we did a series of posts ranging from re-introducing Big Bill to placing a call for fellow captains—each with a captain-like skill they could claim as their own.
Not only did the campaign garner a 10% follower increase on Instagram, thousands more views compared to their weekly posts, and over 14,000 video views, but our client loved the idea so much they spun the idea into more wild postings, as well as an internal campaign capturing all the hard-working captains at Redhook's Brewery headquarters.