Sundance and Diageo’s Content Sponsorship Deal and Cultural Branding

With a yo, ho, ho and a literal bottle of rum, Sundance Channel and Diageo, a multinational alcoholic beverages company, have partnered on a multi-platform content sponsorship deal launching at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand will be a major presence at Sundance Channel’s headquarters in Park City, UT during the Sundance Festival. The partnership involves a documentary film, a graphic novel, a history lesson, plus PR, on-site experiences, and scads of social media. Captain Morgan, it seems, is trading up; aiming for bright young cultural consumers, not party animals.

What’s behind the Captain Morgan brand strategy is the desire to create cultural relevance. The documentary aims to formulate “a cultural impression of Morgan’s legacy in Panama today.” To achieve that goal, considerable intellectual firepower was brought to bear. And the Sundance Channel is proving its flexibility as an omni-media partner. It hired award-winning commercial director Michael Haussman to create The Unsinkable Henry Morgan. The documentary explores the myths and legends surrounding Captain Henry Morgan’s conquests in Panama. 
More swashbuckling will be had at the Filmmaker Lodge in Park City, with screenings and an after-party taking place at Sundance Channel HQ. 
The team of artists and experts who joined Haussman for the journey to Panama includes: 

  • The Historian – Stephan Talty is the New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Blue Water, an account of Captain Morgan’s army and the epic battle for the Americas. 
  • The Costume Designer – An Academy Award-winner and one of the most accomplished costume designers in Hollywood, Colleen Atwood designed a new rendition of Morgan’s  iconic red coat.
  • The Set Designers – Italian production designer Dante Ferretti, who has designed sets for well-known films including Gangs of New York, The Aviator and Hugo, and his apprentice, Carlos Aloisio, built an incredible 10-foot replica of Morgan’s flagship, The Satisfaction.
  • The Artists – Australian comic book artist Ben Templesmith, best known for Fell, 30 Days of Night, and The Nightmare Factory, teamed up with award-winning cartoonist Michael Bendis of Ultimate Comics Universe and Jinx, to create a one-of-a-kind graphic novel based on Henry Morgan’s adventures in Panama.

Ahoy, me hearties! This is one booty-filled content sponsorship deal.