Trying to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge for so many Canadian businesses.
Showing some creativity is now really paying off for a couple of Calgary companies.
Annex Ale Project, a craft brewer, is returning to normal operations, glad to be busy after months of coping with COVID-19.
“We were really, really sad to have to (see) our staff working and then not working, going back and forth on that three different times,” Annex’s co-owner Andrew Bullied said.
The brewery is now coming out of it with something to celebrate, the response to its beer called Pity Party.
Pity Party was released for Annex’s third birthday in May 2020, two months into the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was still (a) pretty intense lockdown, and we realized that we were about to throw a birthday party that no one was going to show up to,” Bullied said. “So we used that idea as inspiration.”
The brewery and its ad agency knew they were walking a fine line on a sensitive subject.
“Pity Party felt like it was Annex kind of poking fun at itself instead of us poking fun at the pandemic in general,” said Jill Dewes of the ad agency Daughter Creative. “So it’s more like, ‘It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to.’”
“Everyone needed a little bit of levity now and then,” Bullied said.
The Pity Party can reads, in part, “swig this from the comfort of your home office well before 5 p.m and we’ll call it a party. If you’re lucky enough to have a pandemic cellmate, you can even bring a plus one.”
The design won big at The Crushies, the world marketing awards for craft brewers.
Pity Party was recognized as the best pandemic-related can, with Daughter Creative winning three more awards for its work with other craft breweries in Calgary.
The total of four Crushies was the most awards for any Canadian ad agency in the competition.
“(It’s) amazing actually,” Dewes said,” to see a Calgary agency on that world stage.”
Daughter Creative is hoping to be back on that stage next year, focusing on other timely topics.
“We’re doing a lot of social cause beer at the moment,” Dewes said. “So things around improving diversity, improving social justice and a lot of those issues that came to the forefront during the pandemic.”
Coming out with Pity Party definitely paid off for Annex, with the beer selling out in less than a week. As Bullied put it, it’s “really blowing up in Calgary.”
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.