Locking in the Right Influencer

Locking in the Right Influencer

By: Brook Jay

ESPN’s show The Last Dance has everyone talking about the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan and specific to this past Sunday’s episode, Dennis Rodman.

Dennis through good times and bad has been an influential character worldwide.

Dennis Rodman and All Terrain go way back. We had the good fortune to work with Dennis as an influencer and a host of a series of national events surrounding the launch of Captain Morgan Tattoo.

Dennis has since hung up his drinking shoes and we are VERY proud of him for that. But during the time of this launch, when All Terrain was challenged to generate excitement around this edgy, nonconformist new black rum and get bartenders and retailers alike excited about the product, Dennis Rodman was the perfect (unofficial) spokesperson.

What made the campaign so successful was the phased approach we took to create a reproducible platform for successfully introducing Tattoo to various markets nationally.

We worked with the sales teams to identify key accounts in each market. We pre-seeded the top bartenders in these accounts with Captain Morgan Tattoo and asked them to create cocktails. Those bartenders were then invited to be celebrity bartenders at the events where they served their signature drinks. This strategy got the product into the accounts early and had stakeholders working with it.

Because of the product’s name we also had Tattoo dropped off at the top Tattoo parlors in each market and invited those artists to not only attend the events but we also asked some to tattoo a “guest” live during the launch party. This gave the product a sense of authenticity and supported buzz building.

Dennis is an avid motorcycle rider, so we engaged local motorcycle clubs and dealers to both provide a bike for Dennis and also join him as he literally rode into the parties. This extended the brand awareness further.

We worked with popular local bands, underground talent, exotic “secret” venues, body-painted models for each event which also helped us articulate the unique character of the brand and the markets we visited.

Finally, we asked the local sales team to be the gatekeepers for Dennis during the events. Which gave them the opportunity to introduce clients to Dennis and bond over the experience. This proved to be a fruitful tactic in building brand affinity and aided the sales team when they visited those customers’ post events where they had fun reminiscing about the evening.

So what was the ROE (Return on Experience)? Beyond a ton of great press, the sales goals were surpassed in every market this campaign visited!

The then President of Diageo (owners of Captain Morgan) referenced the campaign as the winning strategy for other markets to follow, which is how we were able to extend the program further.

The Captain Morgan Tattoo program is the perfect example of GREAT influencer marketing. It proves how an influencer combined with smart strategy can drive brand affinity and sales. All Terrain does not believe in hiring an influencer for the number of followers they have, or aligning with the celebrity flavor of the week just because they may drive eyeballs to the product through a halo effect. We believe an influencer must be aligned with the brands personality and ideally values. The influencer should be excited about the opportunity and believe in the task. Otherwise, authenticity is at risk.

Many other factors made Dennis the right guy for this project. We knew the first launch event would be in Chicago. At the time of the launch, Dennis hadn’t been back in Chicago for several years. So that increased the excitement around his appearance. He is controversial and a rule breaker which absolutely appealed to the nightlife industry audience we were seeking attention from. Lastly, what we knew of him is that if he wanted to do something, he did it and he did it big. Captain Morgan received a ton of value from their brief engagement with Dennis. He brought his A-game to every event and it paid off!

We want to thank Dennis not only for the incredible memories he gave us all while playing basketball, but also the memories he gave our team while working together. During that time we learned a lot about him as a person and appreciated him even more.