'Seat-of-your-pants deadlines are great!' - Behind the Campaign, with Cow's 'Krakenory' for Kraken Rum

Cow PR account director Lloyd Abbott reveals the secrets behind 'Krakenory' for Kraken Rum – a campaign conceived as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Campaign star: Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon
Campaign star: Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon

What was the campaign, in a nutshell?

As the UK entered lockdown, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum launched a campaign of benevolence to help Brits avoid cabin fever.

How? By enlisting the likes of Carl Barat of the Libertines, Hollywood actor Mark Strong and Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon to star in its new online series, Krakenory.

Inspired by CBBC’s Jackanory, in the weekly social-media series celebrities retell excerpts from some of literature’s greatest nautical tales.

How did the idea come into being?

This idea was a direct result of lockdown. For a brand that is heavily led by events and festivals, we needed to find a different way to engage with The Kraken's socially active fan base.

What ideas were rejected?

There were no ideas rejected. The beast has taken them into his watery lair and we will continue to roll them out across the forthcoming weeks and months…

Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

From idea to launch of the first episode took a matter of days. An advantage of lockdown was everyone was available almost immediately, with gigs, film shoots and general productions postponed and talent housebound. This helped to land such high-calibre talent who’d otherwise be preparing for their next role or show, or might have been beyond our budget for a traditional production.

Other benefits stemmed from having an in-house editor and art director, so almost overnight we could create designs and assets ready for the launch.

Importantly, the speed at which this concept was signed off and then each episode created was potentially one of the reasons it has been so successful. We probably already had offers on the table for talent, contracts written and filming set up while other brands were deciding on whether to execute a similar tactic. Luckily for us, we managed to get this over the line first.

What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

There were a number of challenges:

  1. Quality of filming. In an ideal world, this would have been filmed on professional cameras, in a studio with a full film crew. As a result of lockdown, we had to rely on the star of each episode filming it themselves on a smartphone. Cow’s art director and editor were on hand to make each piece of content look as consistent and high-quality as possible.
  2. No bars being open. We would usually look to tie activity into bars. This obviously couldn’t happen, so our sales objective became focused on driving online sales to people’s homes.
  3. Short timeframe. This was turned around in a matter of days, where usually we would have weeks to plan and brief the respective talent and production team. We work fast, so this proved to be a challenge we enjoyed.

How did you measure the results?

This was a social-led idea but also proved to be a PR hit. Success metrics so far include:

  • Views: 550,598
  • Reach: 1,143,869
  • Average percentage engagement: 4.32 per cent

'Krakenory' has landed about 90 pieces of coverage in national media, consumer lifestyle, music and film titles, as well as international press, with a reach of millions.

What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

Seat-of-your-pants deadlines are great for the adrenaline and brands! Sometimes it’s easy to over-analyse content or a release, but fortunately for us, there is a mutual understanding and trust between us and the client, which allowed us to remove the usual timelines and protocols and work in a more dynamic fashion. What’s more, even in the most limiting of situations you can deliver great creative work that gets people talking about a brand.

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