Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, the Dominican Republic's leading brewery with a 95% market share, was both in need of a younger-skewing beer and facing a steep decline in beer consumption after the government raised taxes 40%.
So Pages BBDO persuaded the client to create the One Movement to promote self-expression. It wasn't an easy sell. President Felipe Pages and Creative Director Rodolfo Borrell warned there might be fines and arrests, there could be no pretesting, and the beer should be really, really scarce.
Speaking the language
The One Movement -- in English, the language of rebellious youths who live both online and underground and like to feel they are discovering things for themselves -- started with illegally sticking guerrilla posters over others' ads. There were fines.
Then a viral video called "The One Speaks" circulated of a mysterious unidentifiable man spelling out One Movement's manifesto: "We're the creative power of individuals." With fanatical attention to detail, the Pages BBDO execs sent key editors and media directors battered tapes of the video, bizarrely filmed over an exercise video they shot themselves, and mailed in beat-up envelopes covered with canceled stamps from exotic countries they scored on eBay. Local bloggers went wild speculating about One Movement. There was no mention of beer yet.
"We couldn't ever have TV [commercials], but we needed something big that the whole country would talk about," Mr. Borrell said.
So during a televised baseball game most of the country was watching, the agency hired a guy to scale a wall and run across the field waving a homemade One Movement banner made of fleamarket bedsheets. The police arrested him, and the video went straight to YouTube.
By now the One Movement was all over MySpace and Facebook, and it was time for the beer to make an appearance. In November 2006, six weeks after the One Movement started, viral e-mails circulated about the first party. People had to register for the party on the website (the1movement.com) after answering the question "Are you part of the movement?"
The beer made its debut at the first party, in a clear bottle with a hand-written label in English to create a microbrewery feel. To keep the project secret, the beer was produced by a night shift of 10 people at a Cerveceria factory. Three Cerveceria marketing executives -- a project leader and new-product development and promotions execs -- worked at an offsite Pages BBDO office with half a dozen people from the agency.
So far 250,000 people have checked out the One Movement, and 6,000 are active members. They post art and photos and register for parties, providing a detailed database. From a look at the website, it's clear members are creating their own online myths, such as that the beer is just sold to support the movement.
One of the challenges of a major but unconventional campaign that uses no paid media is figuring out how to charge for it.
"We combined three types of remuneration," Mr. Pages said. He charged a fixed fee with a markup for costs such as hiring the dedicated webmaster who keeps track of traffic, a commission on production costs for things like posters and a fee for developing the creative concept.
Mr. Pages said the One Movement has about 1% of the Dominican Republic's beer market, and he's still pushing the client to limit production to maintain its cachet. The fifth party will be held next month, and a contest is starting for members of the movement to design the beer's next label, which will change twice a year, and vote on each other's entries, he said.
Mr. Pages also sees export potential for the One Movement to places such as Puerto Rico. Right now, Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana just exports a small amount of its leading brand, Presidente.