Thursday, July 02, 2015

On Canada’s National Day

Today (July 1 in North America) is Canada Day. In past years, I’ve posted the ad “I am Canadian” ad for Molson Canadian beer because I think it’s such a great ad, and it’s very pro-Canada. The video above contains that ad (in between ads…).

I picked the version above because it’s the best quality version I’ve found so far, though the ads placed on either side of it are a little annoying. The actual ad starts 15 seconds in. The ads for Molson Canadian have won several awards over the years (actually, the beer has, too).

What I like so much about the ad is how over-the-top the actor gets—until the very end when he turns polite, saying thank you (the stereotype of polite Canadians has been the subject of other ads for Molson Canadian).

I also like two specific things in the script: “I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack,” is the first. Until the current Canadian Government started getting embroiled in the USA’s wars, Canadians were pretty much exempt from the sort of abuse that Americans have sometimes received overseas (indeed, having their flag on display helped let people outside Canada know in advance that they’re not American). That advantage may have been eroded over the past decade or so, but it’s still probably true that the Canadian flag attracts less hostility in much of the world than the US flag does.

The other thing is just funny to me: “It IS pronounced zed, NOT zee, ZED!!” Because, well, it is!

Now, me being me, I needed to verify something that I thought was true but wasn’t sure of, namely, that Molson isn’t, strictly speaking, Canadian. It turns out that Molson Brewery was formed in Montreal in 1786, making it the second-oldest company in Canada (the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company was first). Huge respect to a country that has among its oldest still functioning companies a brewery!

In 2005, Molson merged with Colorado-based Coors. The new company, Molson Coors, is incorporated in the USA, but is traded on both countries’ stock exchanges and has dual headquarters in Denver and Toronto. Some members of the Molson family are still on the company’s Board of Directors.

In 2007, Molson Coors created a joint venture with SABMiller to combine operations in the USA and Puerto Rico, but not Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest. Molson Coors owns 42% of the joint venture, called Miller Coors, and SABMiller owns 58%, but they have equal voting power, which is, um, interesting.

SABMiller, meanwhile, is the London-based multinational company that owns former US brand Miller’s, former Australian brand Foster’s (except in UK and Europe, where it’s owned by Heineken), former Dutch brand Grolsch, and former Italian brand Peroni, among many brands. The company, the world's second largest brewer, is actively trying to grow through acquisitions and takeovers to guard itself from being taken over by Belgian-Brazilian company Anheuser-Busch InBe, which is the world’s largest brewing company. This is why the arrangement with Molson Coors is so interesting.

So, unlike SABMiller (or Anheuser-Busch InBe, for that matter), Molson Coors is still North American-based and at least partly Canadian—maybe a little bit more Canadian, given its particular strength in that country.

So, while Joe is Canadian, the company, if it was a person, would have to shout, “I am quite Canadian!”

Happy Canada Day!

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