Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand, the #3 spirit in the U.S. (and #1 Spiced Rum in the world), challenged Taylor to develop a disruptive communications campaign that would leverage its brand icon, the Captain, and infuse his presence into pop culture on an unprecedented scale. A key business objective was to address a trend of some Captain Morgan consumers ‘trading down’ to beer consumption because of the recession by creating new excitement around the Captain and the unique personality of the brand. As with all Diageo marketing programs, it was also important that a strong social responsibility component was firmly embedded within the fabric of the idea.
Recognizing that deep insight into Captain Morgan consumers (typically young men in their 20s) was essential to success, Taylor’s Brand Counsel Group designed and conducted an innovative research approach to uncover the true drivers of brand affinity for Captain Morgan among these consumers. This included a series of ‘bachelor pad focus groups’ in which men reflective of the key target segment for the brand shared their insights in a relaxed setting which yielded far greater candor than a more traditional focus group setting would have produced. This primary research was supplemented by in-depth trends analysis to identify key societal trends impacting alcoholic beverage choices.
A key insight which emerged was that stories and storytelling were seen by Captain Morgan consumers as essential elements of sharing good times with friends, and that the Captain appealed deeply to these consumers because of the many stories and legends surrounding him. However, the character and his iconic ‘Pose’ needed more depth for the consumer to embrace him.
Taylor used this insight to develop a unique strategy to position Captain Morgan and the ‘Pose’ as the basis for a storytelling-based campaign.
Taylor’s strategy sought to inspire consumers to interact with the Captain Morgan brand by giving them a reason to ‘strike the Pose’ and make it central to their own legendary stories. Thus, the One Million Poses campaign was born. This multi-faceted participation platform created a unifying and defined role for the iconic Captain’s Pose – a gesture that consumers were already instinctively doing – by elevating its meaning into a rallying cry for the brand.
One Million Poses was a year-long journey encouraging celebrities, athletes, influencers and fans to join the Captain on his epic, coast-to-coast quest to inspire One Million Poses, all for a worthy cause. To participate, consumers uploaded photos or video of their own Pose to the CaptainMorganUSA Facebook, along with the stories that helped inspire the pose, and for each one the brand donated $1 to the Captain’s philanthropic organization, the First Mate Fund, which was created to support responsible drinking organizations and other community initiatives. Via the brand’s Facebook page, consumers could influence which organizations received the donations. On Nov. 4th, 2010, the journey for One Million Poses officially set sail with the creation of “The World’s Largest Pose.”
Throughout the year, Captain Morgan sought to collect Poses at marquis sporting events and entertainment venues around the country, with each stop supported by a local First Mate Fund charity partner, including Super Bowl XLV, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Kentucky Derby and Las Vegas during March Madness. Athletes and pop culture
celebrities joined in on the fun, including supermodel Marisa Miller, NFL greats Keyshawn Johnson and Jason Sehorn, television chef Guy Fieri and actor Josh Duhamel, among others.
One Million Poses was integrated across all marketing channels via point of sale collateral, on- and off-premise activations, and managed bar nights. Custom Facebook tabs within the CaptainMorganUSA page housed One Million Poses photo uploads and the unique stories behind them and informed consumers about the First Mate Fund and the charities supported.
The campaign achieved Diageo’s business objectives of reinvigorating Captain Morgan consumption and making the Captain relevant to consumers in new ways, as well as demonstrating the brand’s commitment to social responsibility. One Million Poses-related status updates and unique content has resulted in direct consumer engagement of more than 31,000 “likes” on Facebook and over 8,300 comments from fans of the brand. At the on-premise, teams of brand specialists have communicated One Million Poses program messaging to over 250,000 consumers. The campaign also generated significant national and local market media coverage (265 million media impressions) in all of the top Captain Morgan markets, with several regions putting forth their own creative ideas on how to bring One Million Poses to life locally at the trade level. In total, the campaign has generated more than 265MM media impressions and as of September 2011, the First mate Fund has donated nearly $500K to charitable organizations across the country. “One Million Poses was a strategic campaign for the Captain Morgan brand in that it aligned perfectly with our consumers’ interests and had a simple call-to-action,” said Sari Brecher, Public Relations Director for Captain Morgan. “It was a great example of the entire marketing mix working in sync.”