A Look Inside Our Notable x Pure Leaf Summer Kick Off Party

Our rain dance worked.

The showers held off last Wednesday as some if the city’s most connected young professionals hit the Notable Lounge for our first official indoor/outdoor party of summer.

Offering a perfect excuse for a mid-week cocktail, the party also celebrated the Canadian launch of Pure Leaf Iced Tea and its refreshing merits as a cocktail base.

Cocktail offerings included the popular Mo-tea-to (Pure Leaf Lemon or Raspberry, Havana Club 3-year, lime juice, sugar, mint and soda); the refreshing sangria (Pure Leaf Raspberry, red wine, brandy, cherry heering, lemon, lime, orange and raspberry); or Robin’s Rum Punch (Pure Leaf Unsweetened, Havana Club 3-year, maraschino liqueur, lemon, lime and orange and blackberry and pineapple).

Balancing out the flowing cocktails (there are no long bar lineups at a Notable party), guests nibbled on a healthy selection of passed foods. This meant an assortment of light summer eats like Southeastern-style slaw, herb-encrusted grilled chicken skewers, a grilled whitefish taco and a dark chocolate torte.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Notable.ca event without a little added value (besides the free booze and connections made). That’s where Pepsi Cola brand manager Shirley Mukerjea steps in…

Mukerjea offered insight on how brands are changing the way we engage with consumers in different ways. Apparently, it’s just like dating.

Here are some of the highlights…

Brands as content-creators

“We’re becoming filmmakers, we’re becoming storytellers, and we’re building experiences that are authentic, relevant, memorable and entertaining,” said Mukerjea. “Why is this happening? It’s because all of us are over-stimulated. Everybody has a smart phone. And in most cases, we’re consuming information on small screens. If I use a dating analogy, it’s really hard to walk into a bar and get noticed because everybody looks hot, and everybody’s having a really good time. Brands are having a big struggle in figuring out how to cut through and to really have that connection. It is like getting those phone numbers. If you can translate that to a long-term commitment, and keep it spicy and exciting down the road, that’s the holy grail of our business.”

The Tropicana Campaign

As most Tropicana lovers thought of it as sunshine in a glass (and because the winters are freakin cold and dark in Canada), Mukerjea and her team wanted to create an authentic story that reflected this. They needed something that would be “relevant, memorable and entertaining,” according to her. This gave birth to their hugely successful Arctic Sun campaign. At is essence, her team decided to go to the Canadian Arctic Circle, where the residents who live in the most northern communities experience winter with 24 hours of complete darkness, and surprise them with light.

The initiative involved a group of engineers based out of France and a new technology that could create and simulate the sun through a balloon that emitted a hundred thousand units of light (in other words, it simulated the rays of the sun). They hired a Canadian award- winning documentary filmmaker to be the director for this shoot.

In an attempt to make things as real as possible and to give back to the community, the team talked to the mayor and decided to create breakfast programs for the schools, which would include a surprise warm breakfast (after trudging through the snow) and a glass of Tropicana. “In January, we went up to Inuvik and it was pitch dark at 11:30am, there had been no sunlight seen for a least a month, and it was -52 degrees Celsius,” explained Mukerjea. “Geared up in our Canada Goose gear, we went outside and basically invited the town to show up on Saturday morning for breakfast. Everyone gathered around in their parkas, our documentary filmmakers were ready to go, and then at the count of three we flicked the switch and the sun was shining. It was the first time these folks had seen sun in weeks.”

Mukerjea called it one of the most momentous occasions of her life. “Capturing their expressions and their reaction on film was one of the most emotional feelings,” said Mukerjea. “You could hear the breath they took when they saw the sunshine for the first time in weeks. It was an incredibly magical feeling and we got to hang out with the town after and had a potluck full of games the next day.”

The takeaway

Just like dating, looking the part isn’t enough. “When we got back to the studio, we watched the film multiple times and I was on the brink of tears. We knew we had something magical,” said Mukerjea. “So if I go back to the dating analogy, we were dressed to the nines, we had our stuff together and we looked good… but that wasn’t good enough. We had to get noticed, that was step two; we had to make sure when we told this story as producers and curators of this content, we had to that it broke through the clutter and that people took notice of us, that they wanted our number.”

The reward

The team cut down the footage to 60 seconds. Then came the 2010 Winter Olympics. The men’s hockey team had won gold in the last sporting event of the games. As soon as it went to commercial break, the Tropicana Canada Arctic Sun debuted. “Think about it, the entire country was watching the sports event, we were swelling with national pride, everyone was celebrating and then we brought this authentic Canadian story to life for Canadians to make this momentous occasion even more special,” said Mukerjea.

The team then took it a step further and appeared at all the morning shows, discussing everything related to the campaign. It was also picked up by countless major newspapers without them even trying and talked about on social media. The campaign resulted in a Cannes Lion award as the cherry on top.

Mukerjea’s story inspired brand-building banter among the now well-hydrated guests, who left armed with bags of Tea Leaf when the party wrapped up around 9pm.

Now that’s notable.

Click here to see our full gallery.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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