Sharing a beer and learning about and appreciating differences in other people is what the Castle Lager #smashthelabel campaign is all about.
But before the beer flowed and people danced together, they spoke about how they dealt with the stereotyping they had to deal with in their daily lives.
Vaughan Croeser, brand director for Castle Lager Africa, said the brand has always been about national pride, unity and social cohesion, before adding, “We asked ourselves, ‘what is keeping people away from each other, what is it we can fix’, and the main barrier we found is the pervasiveness of labels and stereotypes and the misconceptions we carry about other people.”
The first step for Castle Lager was awareness, making people look beyond the labels when they see and interact with others.
People share their stories
A panel discussion took place at the event, chaired by Anele Mdoda. The panellists included wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane, Springbok rugby player Handre Pollard, plus-sized model and blogger, Thickleeyonce, and Gaddafi the Poet.
They talked about the stereotypes and discrimination they have encountered in their lives, how they reacted to the situations, and the challenges of representing such a diverse South African society.
Croeser also revealed that AB-Inbev always tried to build its relationship with government, and wanted to work more with the state. The department of arts and culture has been receptive to the idea of this campaign, and had given it their support.
“The reason the department likes the idea, is because it is responsible for outcome 13 of the National Development Plan, which is social cohesion and building stronger communities. And the work we’re doing aligns with the outcomes of the NDP,” Croeser speculates.
He discussed Castle’s responsible drinking initiatives, including Castle Free, a zero alcohol beer, and Carling Black Label’s #noexcuse movement, which addresses domestic violence as a result of too much alcohol consumption.
“For our business to be sustainable, people must be healthy and live long lives and be happy and safe and not drink and drive… As marketers and brand owners we must make a positive impact and fight against these things,” Croeser says.
‘I’m more than that’
The event ended with a party as the new #smashthelabel advert was shown, before DJ Maphorisa played the new song created especially for the campaign.
Are Castle Lager merely copy cats?
Croeser also responded to the negative sentiments many people expressed when Castle Lager first launched the no labels campaign, who called the alcohol manufacturer a copy cat, accusing them of being copycats by lifting the idea from an international beverage company that had already done this.
“Let’s say a certain French car manufacturer invents the airbag and it starts changing people’s lives and it does something good. Does that mean that other cars shouldn’t have airbags because the original idea was the other cars? … If the mechanism of raising awareness has already been used before, why would I not use it if I know it can make an impact. People can call us a copycat, but if you are trying to do something good, you’ll use any means you can,” he explained.
Here are some pics from the event:
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8