Appleton Estate rum celebrates Jamaican excellence in content series

Who: Campari Group’s Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum, with Corus Entertainment Inc. (both as media owner and its social-digital agency, so.da), Fela for production, and Mindshare for media.

What: “Hidden Gems,” a four-episode content series profiling individuals representing Jamaican excellence in Canada across music, style and visual arts.

When & Where: The first episode debuted on Corus’s youth entertainment media site Complex Canada on July 28, with other episodes published this month before being broadcast on the Corus-owned specialty channels Food Network Canada and National Geographic in early September. The series is also being promoted across Complex Canada’s social channels.

Why: Campari overhauled the rum brand with new positioning, packaging and some advertising in March 2020. “Hidden Gems” is the next step towards driving brand relevancy, particularly with younger LDA consumers and consumers seeking stories of inspiration and excellence, said David Allard, vice-president marketing at Campari Canada.

“We’re aiming to increase the emphasis on the brand’s Jamaican provenance, and also celebrating its essence, which is all about joyful excellence,” he said. “We’re doing that through really rich evocative backstories that demonstrate Jamaican excellence.”

How: Each episode is about five minutes long, and features Appleton’s master blender Joy Spence—the first female master blender in the spirits industry—introducing the featured individual. The rest of the video tells their story, the connections to Jamaica and Appleton, before concluding with a virtual tasting with Spence, who tells them about the different Appleton drink they’ll be trying.

“The trick is finding the narrative that feels natural for the brand integration,” said Allard. “They feel like very natural stories that really deliver that inspiration and excitement that people are seeking these days, and you learn something new about these Jamaican creators in Canada, and something new about the brand.”

The four featured creatives:
•Charles Officer, an award-winning director with a focus on telling cultural stories;
•Catriona Smart, founder of the tastemaker blog Coco & Cowe;
•Caffrey Van Horne, an award-winning stylist; and
•Richard Hilary, a musician, cinematographer, and restauranteur/owner of Local Legend.

Why Complex? “A core part of Complex Canada’s editorial focus is to spotlight local trailblazers—be it in food, fashion, culture, music, sports, or entertainment,” said Dervla Kelly, senior vice-president, marketing and so.da, Corus Entertainment. “So partnering with Appleton Estate Rum on Hidden Gems to celebrate the entrepreneurship and innovation from some of our country’s finest Jamaican-Canadian creators was a perfect fit.”

David Brown