Above: After fireworks positioned close to them closed the launch, Rome, Nessa Preppy, Jabbor Kamuyov, Sekon Sta, Nailah Blackman and Preedy prepare to leave the stage. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.
Digicel might be encouraging its customers to shake this Carnival, but the message on the stage at The Bungalow on Rust Street, where the company launched its Carnival promotion and new brand ambassadors urged the youthful audience to flex.
The Be Original dancers started the evening off with an energetic interpretation of a medley of popular new soca songs before Colin Greaves, Digicel’s Communications, Sponsorship/Events Executive took the floor to announce the specifics of the brand’s plans to launch a ’takeover’ of Carnival.
The radio station Boom Champions is promoting the “Shake with Digicel” catchphrase through a partnership launched as The Phrase that Pays. Random calls to active Digicel customers who answer the brand’s Carnival phrase will win $650.
Digicel is also sponsoring the Siparia Rhythm Section and the Carnival band Yuma as well as hosting its popular Kiddie Pump on the Saturday before the Carnival weekend at the St James Barracks and its Roadshow, a full day of partying in Port of Spain, then in San Fernando and back to Port of Spain.
The telecommunications company ended the evening by naming and showing off six of its eight new Carnival ambassadors, the first it has used to publicly used to lead its presence for the season since it brought Machel Montano, formerly a brand ambassador for bmobile, into its fold.
After a bold start, that relationship began to sputter to a halt after the soca star was grabbed by Caribbean Airlines, not coincidentally led by former Digicel Play Manager Garvin Medera, who proceeded to make a big splash with Montano and a new theme song that leapt from the airline’s ads to popular sing-alongs.
The new brand ambassadors, teased as silhouettes on the invitations, are popular host Rome and soca artistes Aaron ‘Voice’ St Louis, Patrice Roberts, Sekon Sta, Preedy, Nailah Blackman, Swappi, Nessa Preppy and Nadia Batson. Roberts and Batson were unable to attend the launch.
It’s a daring shift in approach for the company, which has previously tended to pluck its ambassadors near the peak of their careers, tacking advertising and promotions on genre notables like Kees Dieffenthaller, Destra, Ravi Bissambhar and Montano.
The company has bet on a bigger spread of up-and-coming talent this time around, after years of not making much use of brand ambassadors at all while it put cash into its infrastructure.