While most of the large-scale Canada 150 campaigns and activations have been in place since the beginning of the year, we are starting to see more visibility among sesquicentennial celebrations as we approach July 1st. As at any time of year, the best campaigns being developed and launched are the ones that have come out of a strategic partnership between brands.

The recently launched partnership between Steam Whistle Brewing and Hudson’s Bay Company, which sees the creation of a new line of barware products, marks a great example of an integrated Canada 150 partnership that makes sense on a number of levels. To start, both Steam Whistle and Hudson’s Bay are iconic Canadian brands with interesting histories.

Steam Whistle, while much younger than its partner, had an interesting start as a company in 1998. Its three founders were let go from their positions at a Canadian microbrewery when it was bought out and ultimately shut down. Dubbing themselves “Three Fired Guys,” they started developing a recipe for a pilsner beer that could compete with the country’s leading brands. The company’s name was eventually changed to Steam Whistle to reflect the trusted and hardworking nature of factories in the 1950s.

Perhaps more widely known is the rich history of Hudson’s Bay Company, which actually started as a European-owned property for the fur trade in 1670. As decades passed and the fur trade started losing prominence, Hudson’s Bay Company became solely a Canadian entity and started its focus on retail operations. Multiple rebrands, acquisitions, and overall modernizations throughout the years have brought us The Bay we know now.

Canadian dreams and opportunities are strewn through the history of both Steam Whistle and Hudson’s Bay Company, so there is a natural fit for both brands to work together on a Canada 150 partnership. There are three major elements to the barware line in particular that make it a development set for success:

  1. The line is only available for a limited time in celebration of Canada 150, so the exclusivity of the products raises interest and pushes consumers to purchase.
  2. The line is made up of a combination of in-store sales, online sales, and in-package giveaways, making it a multi-channel initiative that has the potential to reach a wider range of consumers.
  3. The look and feel of the line has been dubbed as “retro,” a nod to Steam Whistle’s overall branding as well as the celebration of Canada throughout the years.

As we come closer to Canada Day, keep your eyes open for more case studies of excellent aligned strategic partnerships and their related Canada 150 campaigns.