October began with a major high note here at SA VIBE. We were fortunate enough to join the Southern Comfort team as they launched their #OwnYourAwesome campaign at the trendy Sir James in upper Sandton on the 1st of October.
The invite itself didn’t divulge much of what was to be expected on the night, besides the fact that we’re to join the brand as they launched an exciting, new campaign and introduce us to their ‘flag raisers’. The infuencers flag raisers specially selected to support the campaign are Celeste Ntuli – local comedian powerhouse – Black Motion – Afro pop/ House DJ duo – Sifiso Dlamini – sole owner of Eish Hade Sneakers – and LuWayne Wonder – DJ and Radio Host. These flag raisers are said to embody a positive outlook on life, exude an imperfect charisma and unwavering self belief in who they are and what makes them unique. And through the campaign, they’ll aim to reward and inspire every day South African’s for being themselves.
But we had to chat with someone from the brand in better understanding this new path they’re about the undertake. How they plan on getting there and the right elements that will help them get there. See my interview with Chantal Canning, South African Brand Manager for Southern Comfort below.
What sparked your interest for the (alcoholic) beverage industry?
Liquor is a really fast paced, dynamic and highly competitive industry, and so each day brings upon new and exciting challenges. I’ve always considered myself to be a good communicator with a keen interest in consumer behaviour, and of course, my love of a great party is what drew me into the world of spirits.
The industry really pushes boundaries and innovation and has undergone some significant changes over the past 15 years, from the craft artisanal revolution to flavoured whiskies and ready to drink cocktails. Without a doubt it is really interesting industry to be a part of.
What are some of the recent trends you see in your industry?
Africa has become the hot spot, therefore consumers are no longer looking outside of the continent for styles and trends. It’s important for global brands to diversify and get in tune with the African entrepreneurial spirit and cultural heritage if they want to be successful.
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We’ve picked up, and were fortunate enough to attend the launch of your #OwnYourAwesome campaign, what is your main objective for this campaign?
The #OwnYourAwesome campaign is designed to inspire and reward South Africans for doing things their own way, for being self-comfortable in their decisions and who own those unique qualities that make them awesome. We think it would be remarkable if we could inspire more individuals to be more comfortable with themselves by owning their awesome.
You’ve certainly caught the eye of new age drinkers and one would say this campaign paves a new brand direction for the brand, is this what you’re aiming at?
Southern Comfort has never been influenced by the crowd we have always done things in our own way – thanks to our founder and pioneering barman, M.W Heron who paved the way forward for doing things in his own comfortable way. We hope to pass his legacy down to Southern Comfort drinkers and non-drinkers.GH
Your choice of influencers or rather, flag raisers is rather unique and new. How did you find them? What about them stood out to you.
To support the campaign we have identified 5 talented South African personalities who embody the brand ideals and attitude and raise the flag to being self-comfortable and confident. They are a bunch of awesomely real people who are comfortable in their own skin, exude a positive outlook on life and an unwavering self belief in who they are and what makes them unique. Namely, Celeste Ntuli – local Zulu comedian powerhouse, Black Motion – Afro Pop/ House DJ duo who are paving the way in the music industry, LuWayne Wonder – Goodhope FM DJ & Radio Host renowned for his unique scratching and mixing ability, and local entrepreneur Sifiso Dlamini of Eish Hade Sneakers – providing a benchmark for up and coming talent is important to our brand philosophy.
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Apart from telling their own stories of success, what will the flag raisers be engaging in during the course of the campaign?
The Flagraisers mission is to inspire and motivate South Africans to own their awesome. Southern Comfort fans will be invited to show us how they own their awesome at www.ownyourawesome.co.za to stand the chance to win R30 000 cash and an advertising campaign worth R300 000, to showcase their awesomeness.
How do you best enjoy your Southern Comfort?
The beauty of Southern Comfort is that it’s really versatile – you can enjoy it with just about any of your favourite mixers. Whatever’s Comfortable. My personal favourite is with soda water and a fresh lime wedge. Perfectly refreshing on a hot summers day.
What is your greatest personal highlight whilst working on the Southern Comfort brand?
Society tells us to look a certain way and act a certain way and there is a lot of pressure placed on our youth to conform. Identifying a local campaign which is inspirational and speaks to young adults by creating a platform for them to be themselves, in a world which tells them to be just like everyone else, is truly a personal highlight.
What’s next for Southern Comfort?
We’ll continue doing things our own way by raising the flag to being self-comfortable. There is more exciting stuff to come South Africa so watch this space.