The thing about being the new kid on the block is that there’s a great amount of pressure to show up and show out. The brands that leave a lasting first impression are those that strike a perfect balance between not trying too hard to fit in and doing enough to get noticed by the right people.
EDGE, which combines the refreshing qualities of cider and the satisfying properties of beer, found themselves facing this very challenge. A new brand, trying to break out of existing categories. The brand wanted buy-in from arguably the most difficult consumer to crack: the progressive, independent, early-adopting, SA youth consumer. EDGE’s mission was to be the drink option for nonconformists who were brave enough to choose “different”.
Tania Kotze, the SA Brand Strategy Manager for Hunter’s EDGE, comments, “Hunter’s EDGE is excited to be a part of the 1st ever Afropunk Music Festival held in South Africa. Like Afropunk, EDGE aims to challenge the status quo and produce ground-breaking experiences”.
EDGE, together with 34°, looked to the inaugural Johannesburg Afropunk festival as a way to fast-track their launch, by driving awareness and trial. 34° and EDGE knew that the festival would attract cultural expressionists looking for a space in which they could be free, a space where they could create their own reality, whether through music, art or fashion. These are the freethinkers, mould-breakers and trendsetters that Edge needed on its side.
EDGE’s strategy aimed to leverage Afropunk’s values to boost the brand’s personality. The aim of EDGE’s Afropunk campaign was to deliver a meaningful brand proposition that connected EDGE and Afropunk to the consumer. 34° developed the “I am” campaign – inspired by the theme of the festival “We the people” – as a launch pad for the celebration of the individual.
EDGE took ownership of the six Battle of The Bands events that led up to the main Afropunk festival. The EDGE and Afropunk association provided a powerful platform to collect portraits of the beautifully diverse Afropunk community. These portraits were printed onto T-shirts with the words “I am” and given to festival goers in exchange for engagement with the EDGE brand. The story that the T-shirts told highlighted the power of diversity, the spirit of defining a new future and the potential that each individual harbour within themselves.
34° Account Director Abraham Van Zyl summed up the partnership by saying, “Edge is all about challenging the status quo and celebrating individuality, acknowledging the ones who changed the game. The two brands had a natural fit. We’ve ended up with a partnership that celebrates the ones who reinvented the game, who are not afraid to be bold, to be themselves and on top of this, we’ve managed to get Edge consumed by our core target market”.
The campaign drove EDGE awareness and trial at the six Battle of The Bands events and then again at the main Afropunk festival, which collectively had over 24 000 event goers. By leading with the “I am” narrative, EDGE reminded consumers about the people, brands and spaces that afford you the freedom to construct your own identity, on your own terms.