Authenticity is key

With the introduction of Havana Club 7, we needed to connect the Havana Club brand history, essence and culture with a new expression that would drive trial with our trendiest consumers. The task wasn’t simple – budgets were small, and the challenge was tall.

Our target was always on a quest for authentic, Instagram-worthy experiences that help define and express who they are, so we needed to find a way to be a part of that world, not invite them into it.

The power of the cultural insight

Through cultural analysis, we uncovered that our target, including the most influential of Instagrammers and bartenders, were already using the hashtag #Havana7. They had organically turned the brand name into a hashtag that mirrored the bar call we hoped could increase trial. But simply adopting the hashtag was not evidence of the authenticity we wanted to convey.

Instead, we hand-picked 3 Canadian photographers and invited them to experience Havana through their own lenses, and share those experiences on their social properties. As a result, #Havana7 would demonstrate that the brand was actively nurturing Instagram photography as an art form in Canada.

But it didn’t stop there. We then asked those three photographers to select three more up-and-coming photographers they admired, who would, in turn, also receive an invitation to select three more photographers, and so on…

The images were used as content on @HavanaClubCA and posted on participating Instagram photographers’ channels to fuel an organic network effect for #Havana7.

Reversing a decline

After the launch of the campaign, Havana saw a significant lift in sales. With #Havana7 being their only brand campaign in market, we can confidently say that this campaign helped grow the brand in an otherwise declining category. The platform was then included in the Havana Club global strategy as a recommended passion-based marketing approach for all markets in future campaigns.