Direct-Mail Inspiration: James Ready Beer Blank Cap Recall Campaign

By Australia Post  Business Lounge Editorial Team

Customers were disappointed when James Ready beer left off the quirky cap messages for which the Canadian brand had become renowned. Here’s how agency Leo Burnett turned the mistake into an award-winning campaign.

The challenge

James Ready includes messages under its caps to amuse customers. In June 2010, more than a million bottles of James Ready beer were sent out with blank caps. Within days, the company started receiving letters, emails and even videos from confused customers. Agency Leo Burnett was asked to create a campaign that would explain and apologise for the mistake to customers.

The campaign

The brewery included letters in each pack of beer and spread the word with an online video. They asked customers to collect and return their blank caps in return for something” from the brewery. Gifts ranged from rubber gloves, to old hockey cards, to ninja hamsters, each sent out with a personalised note.

BL712 Direct-mail inspiration: James Ready Beer Blank Cap Recall campaign

Examples of items and personalised notes that were sent out in exchange for blank James Ready caps.

The results

Apart from generating goodwill, conversation and competition among customers, the brand collected thousands of customer names and addresses.

The campaign itself also won wide acclaim, including winning a Silver Lion at Cannes, two Silvers and a Bronze at the London International Advertising Awards, and Gold and Silver at the CASSIES (Canadian advertising awards).


This campaign is a great example of showing your business personality. Consumers increasingly expect businesses to act more “human” – including being willing to apologise and having a sense of humour.

The tone, language, font choice and gift choices demonstrated that the James Ready brand is informal, light-hearted and fun.

What are the tone and language of your own DM pieces saying about your business personality?

This post is from Australia Post’s Business Lounge


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