Justine Troy and Geoff Ross have written a book. That’s them standing either side of me in the understated frame above. The marital coupling behind New Zealand’s wonder brand, 42 Below, decided that putting pen to paper was a way to both provide the team that was a part of the brands success a nostalgic nod and a way to flick the big finger to a few of the people who didn’t jump on board as part of the team.
I was lucky enough to be in Shanghai at the same time 42 was looking at coming in, my company, ConfuciusSays, got to be a part of the fantastic journey. We went crazy with it, building and intriguing a family of Chinese and Expats that followed the brand and wracking our brains trying to translate the advertising copy into Chinese characters, without ending up in Chinese prison.
Anyone familiar with the brand pre-Bacardi will give a wry smile at the design, the words and the guest appearances of many of the favourite sons and daughters of the brand. The words from Daryl and Jacob were highlights in my mind.
The book does a great job of capturing the very things that made 42 a global brand. It was not a savvy marketing plan or a favourable agreement on distribution hammered out around the table. It wasn’t a business plan or a cute viral video. Those things were all a part of it, they were all important but the thing that made a difference was a culture of passion. Finding people who believed in the brand and having them take it further than anyone believed possible.
It’s also a story of the owners having belief. Believing that it could be done, finding cash and partners to do it. This is where that big finger is waved at the banks and investment community in New Zealand. I agree, we don’t fund creativity nearly enough in NZ, the investment crowd favours soundly mediocre over possibly amazing. I am part of the choir and I have been converted. I do wonder if the unconverted congregation of New Zealand and the investment fraternity will give a flying fuck what our multi-millionaire preacher has to say. It’s probably why he started his own investment group.
The best of the legends are in there, The container sent to Azerbaijan, James Dale in New York. It was the legends and the chance to be a part of one that made it such a great place to work. I love the brand, I love the man, I love the family of people who were (and in some cases, still are) involved. I can’t wait to get a copy of this book, I’m going to treasure it.