Red Stripe has been associated with music in Jamaica for as long as one can remember. Older folk will remember Ernie Smith’s memorable Red Stripe ads that ran on local television back in the 1970s. People sang the jingle like it was a chart-topping single.
In more recent times, Red Stripe continued to demonstrate its commitment to local music and it came in a big way when they became title sponsors of Reggae Sumfest, the world’s largest reggae festival. There were even media-related competitions directly linked to Reggae Sumfest. In 2004, Red Stripe and Irie FM, Jamaica’s all-reggae/dancehall radio station, joined forces for the Red Stripe/IrieFM Big Break competition, the winner of which would get his or her chance to perform at Reggae Sumfest. The competition targeted budding performers who were just one step away from stardom, and only need that big break to emerge from the shadows. Subsequent to that there was Red Stripe Project Artiste, a programme dedicated to recruiting and training persons to work in the entertainment industry.
The company took a break from sponsoring live music performances in 2008 but still maintained a presence at other entertainment events. Red Stripe returned to active sponsorship at Reggae Sumfest last year. To date the company has spent more than $500 million in sponsorships of live events including events like Sting, Reggae Campfire, the Jazz festival and Bacchanal Jamaica as well as others.
According to Jomo Cato, Head of Marketing at Red Stripe, it has been worth every penny. “It’s basically been a positive experience,” he said. “I am proud of the work we have done here in Jamaica with events like Sumfest, Dream Weekend and the Jazz and Blues Festival.”
Cato said consumers have come to expect a superior experience when Red Stripe and its brands sponsor an event. “We have been raising the bar and our consumers are enjoying the experience,” he said.
He showered praise on the promoters of these events whom he said pull out all the stops to make each experience worthwhile for the consumers. “These partnerships between us and the promoters manifest in a good way for the promoters because we both realise that together we deliver an unforgettable experience for the consumer.”
The Heineken Green Synergy competition, for example, delivers in a big way for many emerging disc jockeys. Over the years the competition has served to unearth some of Jamaica’s most talented disc jockeys, many of whom have been afforded opportunities that they may not have been able to otherwise realise. “It does give a lot of exposure to the deejays. It tests their skills, music knowledge, different elementary skills; things that you need to know to relate to a crowd. I was happy to have been a part of it, it was really fun,” explained DJ Narity, one of the finalists of the 2010 competition.
Through its spirit brand Baileys, thousands of Jamaicans enjoyed an evening with Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds at the National Indoor Sports Centre. This, as the brand’s sponsorship assisted United Way to raise funds for much needed projects here in Jamaica.
“It was an easy and great opportunity for someone to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience with one of the greatest musicians of our time,” said Marsha Lumley, Brand Manager of Baileys.
The brands are at it again, this time, Red Stripe is the exclusive alcohol sponsor of the Jazz and Blues Festival 2011.
Baileys, Heineken and Johnnie Walker have teamed to be major sponsors event in Greenfields, Trelawny later this month. With acts like Regina Belle, Air Supply, Ron Isley and Maroon 5, the event is expected to be one of the biggest and best to date.
Johnnie Walker will entice persons with their exquisite lounge and upper deck open to Black Card Holders who will sample Johnnie Walker Blue. Baileys will treat persons to a VIP treatment in the platinum section while Heineken will host the small stage where young, new talent will be exposed.
Some of Jamaica’s top acts like Tessane Chin, Etana and Rootz Underground made their debut in the music business on that very stage.
Moving from the Jazz Festival, the company, will align yet again with Bacchanal Jamaica for carnival.
Now, that’s commitment.