The crew at Alexander Keith’s reached out to us in late 2019 to create a campaign to celebrate their 200’th anniversary. Naturally, we jumped on the opportunity to work with a brand that we all grew up with – a brand that most of Nova Scotian’s hold near & dear to our hearts. The project began with a ton of research. Sure we’ve had a few of their beers throughout our lives, but we honestly didn’t know a lot about where they were today, let alone what had happened two centuries ago. Here’s a few tidbits to bring you up to speed on some of Alexander Keith’s history:
Spent years learning the craft beer trade from his uncle.
Moved to Halifax and worked underneath his apprentice fine-tuning his craft.
Purchased the tools and recipes from his mentor.
He shifted his operations into a larger facility to meet the local demand.
He built the granite brewery downtown that we all know and love.
After the brewery was a well-oiled machine, he continued growing into senior roles throughout many businesses in Nova Scotia.
You’d think at this point, his hands would be full. But instead, Alexander Keith continued chasing his dreams. He was elected into the city council and two years later became the mayor of Halifax and eventually took over as President of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia.
Pretty inspiring guy, right! He created a product that, for many of us, Nova Scotian’s was a statement. When you held that green can with the red stag emblazoned on the front, it meant you were proud of this province. You held that can high, and it said something to us. We wanted to harness the power of the Alexander Keith’s brand and draw the parallels between him as a man and the inspiring everyday people that make Nova Scotia what it is. The team at Labatt jumped on board right away; they loved the idea and were enthusiastic about helping bring it to life. We marched into 2020, ready to rock n’ roll. We had our creative strategy signed-off and our production partners ready to go!
Then… COVID 19 hit us. The virus threw a curveball at the entire world and caused immense pain and turmoil for all of us. Given the circumstances, we put the brakes on the whole project and self-isolated for two months. We regrouped and concluded that now more than ever, the story still resonated, maybe even more given the times. The campaign was always intended to be a rallying cry that made Nova Scotian’s proud and, in a small way, bring us closer together.
Now the challenge was the execution. We had to pivot how we imagined filming and making the message come to life to ensure that we kept the people involved safe, rather than having wide open scenes with our subjects in their natural environments. We opted for a double exposure treatment that would allow us to isolate and shoot subjects one-by-one. We retrofitted the back of a cube van with the necessary gear and drove around the province, capturing the awesome people featured in the campaign. It was a collective effort that couldn’t have been done without an absolutely incredible group of humans. To each of the eight subjects featured, we take our hats off to you! You’re an inspiration to all of us. And a big shout out goes to The Northern – our creative partners on this project. They took our idea, built on it, pivoted when necessary and brought it to life. Thank you, thank you, thank you X1000000000000.
It’s wild to think that 200 years ago, Alexander Keith was chasing his dreams and creating a product that we all love and enjoy today. We can only hope that in another 200 years, the cyborgs walking the Earth might take it upon themselves to toast to greatness as well. Ermmm, will robots drink beer? That’s a debate best had after a few cold Keith’s.