RedLeg Rum proves small brands shouldn’t be afraid to take on TV | #BehindTheIdea

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RedLeg Rum, one of the UK’s fastest growing rum brands, has released its first ever TV campaign to introduce the brand’s mascot - the RedLeg Hermit Crab

The campaign creative by scaleup advertising specialists °Small World and their partners 10 Days shows a couple ordering a drink in a classic rum bar, who ask the bartender why the RedLeg bottle features a crab on the label. The ensuing creative is testament to the fact that TV advertising doesn't have to cost a fortune to be effective.

This is the first drinks campaign for °Small World, which was set up by Dan Salkey and agency Co-founder Harvey Austin (formerly of Dark Horses) to reimagine the way a creative agency works for bold, brave and fast-growing brands. We caught up with Harvey to get a little more insight into the campaign and why the new mascot is the perfect embodiment of the brand.

What was the brief?

RedLeg were a brand with good distribution but little brand awareness. We were brought in to change that by bringing the scaling brand to TV for the first time. 

There’s been lots of debate particularly amongst smaller brand owners about whether TV is a good and measurable investment. Luckily our clients saw the benefit from the get go and working with our partners such as ITV we were able to build a case and media plan for making the RedLeg brand more memorable over a 6 week period. 

In terms of the creative brief, we knew that we had to land the brand name and symbols in consumers’ minds. What makes this rum different? Why is their brand mascot a crab? What does that crab symbolise? 

The answer to all of those questions was our ad which communicates to the increasing cohort of spirit drinkers in Britain why they should be drinking RedLeg Rum over any other. RedLeg is a brand that epitomises the authentic Caribbean spirit and is an escape from the white sandy beaches and pirate symbolism of the category.  

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

The first few meetings with the RedLeg were just spent exploring what could be achieved with varying production budgets. We discussed everything from a low budget pack shot ad, animation and a more ambitious live action shoot. Then once we had an agreed brief and a final budget, we started pulling the team together. 

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

The first time we started talking about ideas with our partners 10 Days was at their office. Dan (strategy partner) ran through the brief and then we just started spit-balling a few ideas that would be fun. 

As a remote agency we champion the flexibility of working from anywhere but we still understand the power of concentrated in-person work, particularly for ‘writers room’ style moments like these.

What was the process behind the dance itself?


Given the dance was such an integral part of the idea, we hired a professional choreographer, Eva Lourie.

“When making the final choreography for the advert my main approach as the choreographer was constantly questioning myself as to what the essence of the crab was. There was a particular focus on the movement aesthetics and the personality of the crab/the individual dancers. It was a process of trial and error to figure out the best way to show what the brand was trying to communicate to the world.”

“All of this meant that collaboration was crucial among everybody who was involved in the production of this advert. It wasn’t about just dancing like a crab. It was about what this mascot represented. What it could become physically and mentally for the consumers of the product. The crab had to become a relatable symbol and I think that hearing different people's versions of what their inner hermit crab would be, then massively influenced the outcome.”

 - Eva Lourie, Choreographer 

What was the production process like?

Once we had the idea and script nailed, the production process became very fast and very collaborative. 

I know every agency says it, but we do genuinely like working really closely with our clients. As much as we see ourselves as advertising specialists, they’re the ones that know their brand inside out. 

They know the audience and they know the product. And that was particularly true with Sarah and Kate who not only had built RedLeg from scratch but they also had great creative instincts. And given tight timings, it was in everyone’s interest to work closely to get where we wanted. 

We’re not really into the big ‘taa-daa’ moment so that meant sending any references we thought were relevant as well as working with a Google Slides to review everything from props, wardrobe and casting tapes. 

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

The shoot was very ambitious. Not only did we have a ridiculous dance that we needed to capture , but the most time consuming element was making sure we nailed all of the product shots. 

The prep of the drink, the lime squeeze, the ice hitting the glass, the pour and the serve. Those are key elements of any alcohol ad, so you need to get them right. Fortunately our executive producer (George White) had quite a bit of experience working behind a bar, so stepped in pretty seamlessly. I can’t tell you how many limes we went through. 

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

We shot the ad on a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k using a set of vintage modified Leica R cine lenses. The editing and grade was done on Adobe premiere.

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

It was pretty hilarious watching the dance. Shoots can naturally have an element of tension, but as soon as we had our actors doing the dance, everyone was just laughing. 

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

There’s two main messages really; one is a message to scaling brands and another to consumers. The message to scaling brand is; Look! You can make impactful creative at speed and test channels like TV in the same way you do performance marketing. Don’t be scared to. 

The message to consumers is; Are you tired of pirates, ye olde folklore and sea monsters? Do you want a slice of the real Caribbean? Here’s a bottle of that with a Hermit Crab on it that you’ll want to remember this Summer. 

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

Incredibly, about 3 weeks. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?


Like any TV campaign, we want more people to be aware of the brand. It’s a genuinely brilliant product with great distribution across the UK, so we’re hoping this pushes people to try it. 

Credit list for the work?

Client - RedLeg Rum - Distil PLC 

Sarah Kingsbury 

Kate O’Connell

Don Goulding 

Creative Agency- Small World x 10 Days 



ACCOUNT LEAD: Harvey Austin


CREATIVE: Alex Taylor, Alek Lewin 

Production: 10 Days 

DIRECTOR Mark Blackman





GAFFER Noah Furrer 

1st AC Joe Mcdonald 


STYLIST Rhona Ezuma

EDITOR Chloe Kelly 

SOUND & MUSIC Dominic White 


SOUND OPERATOR  Christian Davis

MUA Sophie Scott 

Original Score: “Crab Dance” by Dominic White  

Media - ITV AdVentures

Callum Taylor


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