Jay Z’s announcement on Dec. 3 that he and Queen Bey were ditching processed foods for a plant-based diet for 22 days took the world by storm. To the world, it was a bold statement and a wake-up call to the urban community that two of their very own were embarking on a journey to healthier lifestyles that they should also embrace. Actually, it only emphasized how misinformed the mainstream was about a lifestyle that already existed within the urban community. To the true vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and health advocates throughout urban areas, this was just the exposure that was needed to further spread the knowledge of healthy living.
Reed’s Inc. is a company that caters to those who wish to partake in a healthier lifestyle despite race or background. Best known for their naturally brewed beverages such as Jamaican Ginger Brew, the brand recently launched Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha — a line of organic live beverages designed to detoxify and energize the body. What makes the brand exceptional isn’t just the unique flavors that they market, but their approach to marketing as a whole. The brand teamed up with premier lifestyle marketing firm Cashmere Agency to market a line of beverages that appealed to a young, and more health conscious group within the urban demographic.
“You see the rise of millenials really understanding what they’re ingesting and the additives and preservatives that go into what they’re ingesting,” says Ryan Ford, vice president of Cashmere Agency. “Sometimes when it comes to African American or Latino culture, when these culture shifts happen, these groups are ignored. We weren’t seeing any unique, targeted strategies to our young African-Americans or young Latinos who are looking at what they eat differently.”
For the team at Cashmere Agency it was no longer just a product that they were marketing, but a lifestyle. To appeal to a group of young millennials in a multicultural market meant that they had to communicate with them authentically. For a company like Cashmere Agency that thrives in the multicultural segment, it was all about bringing together clever creative that reached multiple audiences at the same time.
Countless brainstorming sessions led to the development of the Get Cultured movement — an initiative that challenges people to step out of their comfort zone and expand their horizons to embrace a different, possibly foreign, lifestyle. At the center of the movement is the “Thass Kombucha” video, which features YouTube star DJ Dave (check out his hit video “Whole Foods Parking Lot”) educating indie rapper Murs on the benefits of ingesting the GMO-free beverage. In addition to the visual component, the team also sent out gifts to tastemakers that embody the movement, such as Angela Simmons and The Game. They also set up pop-up shops outside of streetwear stores and concerts like L.A.’s Respect the West.
“We really wanted to focus on unique places of culture because Kombucha itself is a unique blend of culture. So all of these weird places that you wouldn’t expect to see Kombucha, that’s where we want to be because we don’t want to ignore this [urban millennial] audience,” Ford says.
In the marketing world, Cashmere Agency is going down the road less traveled, where multicultural millenials aren’t treated as an anomaly, but as the growing norm that will soon be at the forefront, and not the afterthought, of advertising campaigns. Similar to how Footlocker integrated into the urban community, Ford hopes that health food stores carrying Kombucha such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s will also become more prevalent in these communities, rather than assuming that working-class people don’t want or can’t afford healthier options. In the meantime, the former music journalist-turned-ad executive will continue his journey toward a healthier lifestyle.
“I’ve been struggling with vegetarianism. Maybe now that Jay Z makes it cool it will help make me stronger!” he says.