Labatt beer transforms original summer ads to show people having fun - at a distance

The "Fake It Until You Lake It" campaign launches just in time for Memorial Day.

by Lindsay Stein

Before coronavirus shut down the nation in mid-March, Burns Group had just wrapped a shoot in Oregon for Labatt’s summer campaign, featuring groups of friends enjoying beers around lake. Unfortunately, with most of the country – and the world – still sheltering in place, the brand couldn’t go ahead with its planned spots since they clearly don’t abide by social distancing guidelines.

But rather than scrap the campaign altogether or producing the currently commonplace empathetic COVID-19 ad, Burns Group rose to the occasion to launch "Fake It Until We Lake It."

The new spots, which launch today – just in time for Memorial Day weekend, show ways people can still have outdoor summer fun while staying at home, even if they fake it. One spot showcases a man cleverly "wakeboarding" in his garage with a fan and spray bottle, while another shows a man "kayaking" in a kiddy pool in his backyard.

The spots were all inspired by posts of real people recreating lake activities in innovative ways amid shelter-in-place guidelines. Burns Group decided to work with production company Droptree to figure out how to make these visuals come to life instead of tapping into user-generated content. Within 24 hours, the production shop and Burns Group, including Directors Matt Miadich and Connor Martin, who shot the 2019 and original 2020 Labatt summer campaigns, created the jingle and the spots - and they even starred in the ads.

For the ads, which push the message of enjoying Labatt while staying at home, the directors staged the setups in their own yards, living rooms, garages and bathrooms.

According to Burns Group Executive Creative Director Sam Arcade: "We couldn’t have done this without all of us -- client, agency, and production all holding hands and getting in the creative hot tub together, really trusting in each other. I’m really proud of all of us. And I cannot wait until we can all get together and celebrate, within 6 feet, damn, it!"

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