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Wray & Nephew - Engaging communities through culture with Wray & Nephew

In early 2019 we started work with CAMPARI Group driving fame for its portfolio of whiskey and rum brands. 

Our brief for Wray & Nephew was to build awareness and consideration amongst Jamaican-connected 20 – 30 year olds, by reaching them in unique and disruptive ways. Our brand strategy was linked to drive overall sales while retaining the brand’s cultural relevance, credibility, and community love. The goal was to give the brand’s audience a reason to choose Wray & Nephew as their drink of choice by continuously adding value and leaving a positive lasting impression.

Wray & Nephew Overproof rum is a Jamaican icon. We looked at the pillars of Jamaican culture within London and saw that gentrification, high street degradation and government austerity had taken its toll. As a brand that stands for community, we wanted to look at how we could help. We identified that music is the universal unifier, bringing people together regardless of class or culture.

The Wray & Nephew team created the​‘Wray Residency’ platform in the summer of 2019 to embed the brand in core communities around London. The events saw the brand work with local talent, creating a special one-off experience for the local community through intimate pop-up gigs in unusual community hotspots and empty retail spaces. This real-world activation was supported with a refined social strategy that saw a number of social channels close and focus brought to Instagram as our primary channel. Optimising different formats across the platform and incredibly targeted paid media we were able to inform, engage and grow our target audience by 44%.

To kick off 2020 we ripped up the rule book and took it up a notch – collaborating with grime artist, Kano, going to his hometown of Newham, and transforming its Leisure Centre into a once-in-a-lifetime performance for 400 people. Described as a​“triumphant homecoming” by media, the sold-out event was built entirely for the local community — from drinks to media and social strategy – delivering an unforgettable experience. Everything was continuously rooted in the local community with 100% of all proceeds (such as tickets and drink sales) from all events going back to local causes, supporting Black-British creativity and businesses, while spreading the Jamaican values of community. 

When the UK first entered lockdown, we saw communities across the UK come together to support one another. It was during this moment of Support Local’ that residents realised how local businesses don’t only build a stronger economy — but they also build a stronger community.​In 2021, with lockdown lifting, Wray & Nephew wanted to create the ultimate reconnection moment, with the community continuing to be at the heart of everything the brand does.​Partnering with award-winning British Grime MC, songwriter and rap icon Ghetts, Wray & Nephew held a Community Day in Hackney, helping transform the space at Kingsmead Community Centre for Ghetts’ chosen charity, Made Up Kitchen. The Community Day brought Wray & Nephew and an army of volunteers together, with everyone getting hands-on to transform the community space in a day, volunteering over 200 hours of time. 

The renovation came just weeks following the brand bringing their community together to celebrate lockdown lifting with a special House Residency by Ghetts on Friday 23rd July. Part of the Wray Residencies series, the night saw a derelict hotel taken over to create an immersive house party for their nearest and dearest, with the night bringing together the energy of being free again. This residency was shortly followed by two final residencies, firstly with the King of the Dancehall – Beenie Man – marking his first performance in the UK in 12 years, followed by a second residency with the Queen of the South, Shaybo who both bought the vibes after another action packed year for the brand.