Red Stripe to return to its roots as ‘the beer of bands’

Iconic Jamaican beer Red Stripe is repositioning to strengthen its ties with the UK indie music scene, and a £2m advertising campaign that launches this week in the music press will support the move.

The brand, which is brewed and distributed by Wells & Young’s Brewing Co for Diageo, is also launching the Red Stripe Music Awards. The winning act will support a headline band in a major concert and play two big music festivals.

According to Jonathan Kirkham, senior brand manager at WYBC, the brand will spend about £2m on the new positioning over the course of 2007, an increase of 15% on last year.

Kirkham says: “We’re putting Red Stripe back where it belongs. From the 1980s when it was drunk by The Clash through to the 1990s when it appeared on an Oasis album cover being drunk by Noel Gallagher, Red Stripe has a long association with creativity and music.”

But he adds that recently the brand’s marketing messages have become mixed. He says: “We’ll be dropping things like the sponsorship of surfing festivals, although we’ll continue to support the Notting Hill Carnival because of the brand’s strong Jamaican heritage.”

The above-the-line work, which mostly includes press advertising, has been developed by local Bedford agency Evolving Media, while media buying for the campaign will be through Equinox.

The beer brand also has a sponsorship deal with this year’s cricket World Cup in the West Indies. Red Stripe is the regional sponsor and official beer for the event in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda.

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