What do a Grammy Award-winning music producer, the flags of every island in the Caribbean, a music video that goes viral and the most popular beer in the Caribbean all have in common?
They are the essential ingredients behind a campaign by Ross ReThink, a Trinidad-based innovation agency, to challenge Corona’s primacy as the leading imported beer for U.S. beachgoers.
Carib Brewery traces its proud 75-year history to Trinidad and Tobago, where the largest of the brand’s string of regional breweries extending across the region to Florida was founded in 1947. The company contrasts its blonde, award-winning brew’s Caribbean, beach and barbecue profile with Corona’s “chill” vibe by emphasizing the youthful appeal of Carib’s “thrill.”
Corona spent the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic combatting the perception that it had anything in common with the coronavirus other than an unfortunate name association (including 5W Public Relations’ claim that “38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now”).
The Mexican beer’s loss presented a potentially enormous gain for Carib, which partnered with Ross ReThink to entice U.S. beer drinkers to have the time of their lives in “the world’s most exciting playground”—the Caribbean—where they can experience a “Carnival of ecstasy.”
Extending this invitation was none other than DJ Khaled. The music video, “Can You Feel It,” also featuring Trinidadian Soca singer Kerwin Du Bois and dancehall star Shenseea, was a collaboration between Ross ReThink Head of Agency Operations Stacey Ryan and Gil Green of 305 Studios, who directed and produced the spot. According to Ernie Ross, chairman of Ross ReThink, the portrayal of the Caribbean is “unlike anything seen before.
“While the success is certainly in the contagious, percussive music and riveting imagery, there is a subtlety at play here that’s worth noting,” Ross says. “This isn’t a beer ad. And it is clear it was never meant to be. There isn’t a lyric in the song that mentions Carib by name. Yet all its catchphrases and embodiment of the region are captured in such a way that Carib’s signature is clearly, indelibly imprinted upon the viewer. Scenes have the beer appearing organically and naturally like sand on the beach. It’s supposed to be there not as a prop but an obvious part of the cultural expression and lifestyle of the Caribbean.”
Within hours of being released on YouTube the video garnered half a million views while millions clicked on other sites to view the spectacle.
The strategic thinking behind the creative work is based upon a trademarked branding methodology deployed by Ross ReThink called Intangience that is certified and validated by the United Nations University for Peace and noted in publications such as Harvard Business Review and Forbes.
Created by Ross, Intangience is a portmanteau of the phrases “intangible values” and the “science of human connection.” According to Ross, it is the basis upon which the success of every major global brand is built—except in the case of Ross ReThink, the methodology is a step-by-step, well-defined practice that is teachable, and one it has deployed throughout the organization of major corporations at every level. It features three unique insights upon which brand identity and personal development are built: Pillars of Purpose and Currency of Conversation as well as the aforementioned Science of Human Connection. The case studies that support Intangience display the methodology’s measurable success in diverse fields and sectors, global finance, energy and aviation.
Ross ReThink has committed to gifting Intangience to students, NGOs and global causes, emerging brands and individuals who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The philosophical underpinning, Ross believes, is that there must be a leveling of the playing field.
“While large brands are thriving, it’s the smaller guys who are struggling to survive,” Ross says. “By showing them how we’re achieving it for our clients, we create the transformation necessary and enlarge the pool of abundance in the process.
“It comes down to learning how to create meaning. The Intangience principle is based upon the idea that something only has value when it holds meaning to those who seek to possess it. Given that a brand is essentially the expectation of that intangible value, the question becomes how does one shift perspective of redefining an offering so that it’s is imbued with significant meaning and emotional connection.
“The world is running on intangible values, and if you don’t understand what that means, how to define it in your brand identity and create connections around it, you’re just not going to be able to compete.”
The individual island flags that wave in celebration in the music video is further evidence of Intangience in play, Ross says. Namely, not just how to introduce a beer to the U.S. market, but how to best define a region, create a sense of pride and connection and introduce the Caribbean to the world with the promise of holding it in the palm of their hands to the musical refrain, as DJ Khaled exclaims in the video, “Can you feel it?!”