Pernod Ricard Brief – Sisonke Mzansi

Speaking now in 2020, I was met with huge amounts of excitement when I got the go ahead to be part of a campaign set up by the second biggest alcoholic spirits brand in South Africa – Pernod Ricard.

I was messaged by none other than African Ginger, a famous illustrator in South Africa about whether or not I’d be keen to send my portfolio through. Of course, I jumped at the chance and sent my work through and it was met with positive feedback and excitement. The team gave me a breakdown of the campaign that was to come – Sisonke Mzansi.

Inspired despite the pandemic, Pernod Ricard decided that they wanted to do alcohol gifting for the festive season in a way that was different from their competitors but simultaneously making a point of reinvesting in the local economy by creating jobs for poorer communities in South Africa.

This is where I became a piece of the puzzle.

5 local artists were selected to create bespoke artworks that embodied the brands they were assigned to, but they were also tasked with drawing inspiration from South Africans as a people and what it means to come together as a country. My brand was Jameson’s Whiskey.

Here is a breakdown of the artwork that I created for the campaign.

For me, the Jameson’s IPA (Irish Pale Ale) whiskey evokes a lot of earthiness – represented in its wooden barrels and the green colour of its brand. Together, these elements inspire visions of nature and the powerful and beautiful forces it gives birth to.

I wanted to create an artwork that used the iconic sceneries of South Africa as a metaphor for the array of cultures we have. Each of the forces in the image affects the other and this swells into a bouquet of beauty and power that is South Africans. The woman doubles as a product of exposure to all these cultures as well as being a force of nature in a more general sense.”

jamesons whiskey ecosystems pernod ricard mrgrimsley mr_grimsley mr grimsley rob crawford robcrawford south africa artist illustrator illustration woman with black braids against green background with no neck with flowers coming out of her head and a hand holding a blue butterfly with a tidal wave behind it

These 5 artworks would then be used as the designs for the various gifting items that would be made for the festive season. They would be placed on tote bags and gift wrapping, as well as used as collateral and promotional items for the campaign on various platforms. The aim of the campaign was to have all these promotional items locally produced – from the artwork to the actual items customers could buy.

But this was not all. Pernod Ricard, more than anything, wanted to send a message of unity as well as promote responsible drinking with the campaign. That is why they brought on Siya Kolisi as the spokesperson for the campaign. He is the Captain of The Springboks. The very South African team that won the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It was a defining moment in recent South African history that brought the country together in a way that had not been seen in decades. It was a perfect fit. 

You can view the promotional video for the campaign here.