Lakespen St. Catherine Jamaica

Schweppes enters into strategic sponsorship deal with Wray & Nephew white rum

SCHWEPPES distributor Wisynco has forged a strategic partnership with J Wray and Nephew in a sponsorship deal for the fourth season of the Contender boxing series, aimed at deepening the brand’s presence in the Jamaican soda market.

The deal pairs Schweppes grapefruit soda with title sponsor Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum as corporate endorsers of the popular television show and event. It importantly promotes the combination of the brands as an alcoholic beverage. This is in line with Wisynco’s target to turn Coca-Cola-backed Schweppes into a leading chaser and preferred grapefruit-flavoured beverage in Jamaica, a market long dominated by PepsiCo Jamaica’s brand Ting.

Wisynco has been aggressively pushing Schweppes at parties and on supermarket shelves since officially launching the product locally in the third quarter of 2011. Jamaican drinkers regularly combine grapefruit-flavoured beverages with alcohol, including the top selling Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.

“Supporting the Contender is very natural because at the bar level, for many years now since we launched Schweppes, consumers have been using it more and more as a mixture,” Francois Chalifour, director of marketing at Wisynco, told Caribbean Business Report yesterday.

“We are looking to leverage this relationship with Wray and Nephew some more by extending values to bar keepers so that they can offer it as a combo so that Jamaicans can benefit,” he continued. “It’s an international brand married to a traditional Jamaican vibration, it’s the best possible marriage.”

The Wray & Nephew Contender is a reality TV show which follows a group of boxers competing against one another in an elimination-style tournament, of which the winner is rewarded with a cash prize. It has been a hit among viewers and patrons, hundreds of which pack into the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) facility in Kingston on Wednesday nights, for the taping of the fights for the live TV show.

This year’s tournament, which began on Wednesday, sees the addition of boxers from other Caribbean countries and an increase in the winning cashprize from $1million to $2million.

Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum has been title sponsors of the Contender since its inception. Cecil Smith, group brand manager for rums at J Wray and Nephew, said the company is “thrilled to welcome” Wisynco on board with its Schweppes brand.

“These two brands complement each other very well and we are looking forward to working with Schweppes to deliver an excellent experience at the CBA,” Smith said yesterday.

He highlighted that J Wray and Nephew will be activating its ‘Celebrate The Champion In You’ programme, featuring deals at 600 local bars to which the show will be beamead live each week.

Wisynco’s move is part of a broad plan by the firm to procure a sizeable share of the local carbonated beverages market for the Schweppes brand. The company at first imported the product from Trinidad & Tobago for distribution in Jamaica, but began manufacturing it in Jamaica two years ago. In addition to thegrapefruit flavour, the company also locally produces Schweppes Ginger Ale and Bitter Lemon.

Chalifour said that the brand has realised significant growth over the last three years under Wisynco and now controls nearly 10 per cent of the soda market. He said a major part of that growth can be attributed to the brand’s increasing popularity as a stand alone drink, as well as a chaser.

“The very nature of Schweppes is that it’s a mixer brand. The beauty about it for Jamaica is that the market also took to it as a drink (on its own),” he said, noting that the soda is also popular among kids.

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