You might not have heard of him yet but Jim Cregan has what a lot of brands really wish they did: personality. He also has a penchant for amateur rapping - and for turning it into an alternative marketing platform.
While travelling in Tasmania, Cregan fell in love with iced coffee so much that when he returned home he built up his own brand.
We’re not powered by some gigantic marketing machine who’s come up with this name ‘Jimmy’, it is just me
Yesterday, the Dorset born entrepreneur released a three minute YouTube rap in homage to the brand he created five years ago – Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. The video has already been tweeted by Sir Richard Branson as an example of entrepreneurial marketing flair – which Cregan says is "mega".
"I really like rap and [the video] is something that’s really light hearted and fun and obviously not serious, and we’re not a serious brand," he explains.
The video of his hip hop track "Keep Your Chin Up" features the bearded entrepreneur-cum-rapper reminiscing about his "hood" – the seaside town of Bournemouth - and staking his claim as the "P.I.M.P of FMCG".
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee has what brands spend billions cultivating – a genuine heritage with great storytelling potential that is attractive to a millennial audience and harks back to the early, independent days of a brand like Innocent.
No pretentious stuff
In a sense, with its lack of aggressive commercial targeting, the video is an example of anti-mainstream marketing. Something that Cregan agrees other brands are missing out on.
"We do quite a lot of content. On our YouTube channel we do have quite a lot of stuff and it’s not all product related – like ‘hurry while our stocks last’ and all that crap… There’s no pretentious stuff, it’s all real and authentic and that’s it.
You look at some products and you think – are you having a laugh? Do you really seriously expect me to believe this crap you’ve got written on the side of your pack?
"We’re not powered by some gigantic marketing machine who’s come up with this name ‘Jimmy’, it is just me really."
Consumers are, Cregan adds, crying out for more authentic brand storytelling.
"You look at some products and you think – are you having a laugh? Do you really seriously expect me to believe this crap you’ve got written on the side of your pack. And then you go on a brand’s Facebook page and there’s a picture of a kitten saying ‘oh no, it’s Monday again'.
"And I think – is this honestly the best thing you can talk about right now? After talking to the hilt about your product the only thing you can talk about is a cat? You’ve got to be joking."
Indeed Cregan admits he almost accidentally became the ‘front man’ of the brand but with buckets of passion and regular speaking appointments at festivals like Wilderness, colleges and schools, people warm to the story of how the brand has been developed.
The brand has listings in Waitrose, Tesco Express, BP Connect and Ocado, with a plan to one day have all the supermarkets snap it up.
But for now Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is experimenting with ways of promoting the brand and sharing the brand story. "We’re throwing a few ideas around about what the next one could be," he promises.
The video was created in partnership with innovations consultancy Fearlessly Frank.