‘Más Fuerte’: 5 Questions With Presidente Beer’s Rebecca Chen

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Presidente Beer sponsors Mas Fuerte movie launch June 2018 New York

Partnering with film director Sean Frank, AB InBev’s Presidente beer is honoring its brand heritage and birthplace in the Dominican Republic by co-producing his new short film titled Más Fuerte (“Stronger”), which shines a light on the Dominican sound culture both in the Dominican Republic and across New York City.

By capturing the extravagant speaker displays that locals build in their cars to put on the best parties within their communities, the film showcases not only a passion for music, dance and community but an affinity the culture has to share and elevate experiences.

Given the rise of Dominican music culture in mainstream media, including stars such as Cardi B, Romeo Santos and Nicky Jam to name a few, it has become a force within the Hispanic market that brands should be paying attention to.

Anheuser-Busch’s Presidente Beer is tapping into that dynamic sub-culture by sponsoring the launch of the film and inviting New York City’s D.R. community to celebrate, too.

Directed by Frank, Más Fuerte uncovers a scene of underground “musicologists” in New York and the Dominican Republic through their custom sound vehicles—a way to keep their culture alive, despite their often restrictive environments.

Presidente Beer sponsors Mas Fuerte movie launch June 2018 New York

From get-togethers at Santo Domingo gas stations to gatherings at secret spots across NYC’s five boroughs, the film showcases not only a passion for music, dance and community but a cultural affinity to share and elevate experiences.

As an homage to the film’s quintessential sound system van parties, earlier this month Presidente partnered with van owners to transform a defunct petrol facility into a massive outdoor party. The day included a full screening of the documentary, Dominican food and a lineup of artists representing the diversity of the New York sound system culture.

Presidente Beer sponsors Mas Fuerte movie launch June 2018 New York

Presidente took over Long Island City with a block party (and screening co-presented by Boiler Room) that included five speaker van systems from New York City residents who were featured in the short film including Jose Ortiz and Nelson Hidalgo and various performances from DJs and artists including popular sister-duo, Nina Sky; R&B singer-songwriter A. Chal; Dominican artist El Mayor Clasico; DJ ProStyle; and Hot 97 on-air DJ and radio personality, DJ Enuff.

Rebecca Chen - Anheuser-Busch InBev brand manager for Presidente beerFor more insights we spoke with Rebecca Chen (right), Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Brand Manager for Presidente beer.

AB InBev acquired Presidente in 2012. How connected is the brand to its heritage?

Initially, the Presidente brand grew in prominence as the number one beer of the Caribbean. As the brand’s consumer focus has shifted to become more global, Presidente is still proud to champion its Dominican heritage, weaving existing narratives that highlight music, community and culture inspired by the Dominican Republic (D.R.) found worldwide. This was the case with the Más Fuerte documentary, as it supports a moment and spotlights a music culture phenomenon that has been occurring for decades in both the D.R. and the U.S.

Presidente Beer logoThe Presidente brand prides itself on its organic relationships with the consumer, which I’d say is an important role we play at A-B. When I met the director, Sean Frank, and he told me about this unique subculture of “musicologists” with custom sound vehicles, I knew that this was the perfect vehicle (quite literally) for us to share with the world (both those familiar with the D.R. and not) the energy that surrounds the music they listen to and the parties they throw. It’s real, it’s spontaneous, it’s inclusive.

How did this campaign come about?

This campaign came together in the most organic of ways. Professionally, I single-handedly manage Presidente at A-B and take pride in living and breathing the brand and deeply understanding the brand’s consumer. Personally, I love what the brand represents—rhythm and joy—and enjoy that I’m able to connect with surrounding untapped communities frequently. It also helps that New York City is the main market for Presidente and I’m able to get to know these communities firsthand.

As I manage the brand fully in a very “hands on” way—working with the community, influential artists and promoters, and talented freelancers—I was connected with the director of the film. Sean was already capturing this subculture of Dominican musicologists building ornate speaker systems within their cars, both in New York and in the Dominican Republic, and was fascinated by this underground phenomenon.

He had witnessed this underground scene and wanted to highlight the community and passion behind it, and Presidente was proud to come on board to help produce the film as it aligned perfectly with our brand—championing the rhythm and joy of the D.R. around the world.

We traveled around Queens, The Bronx and to the Dominican Republic to meet with locals, shop owners and attend events that were formed around these speaker systems. It’s thrilling, to say the least, but the great thing was that this subculture has been there all along and we are fortunate enough to be the first to tell this story in such a dynamic and visual way.

How does this help keep the Presidente brand authentic and connected to the D.R. community?

In producing this film and visiting Dominican Republic to meet with local residents and shop owners, I was really struck by the pride Dominican have for their culture and community. Presidente has even reflected this in its new packaging to include “AUTENTICO ORGULLO DOMINICANO” on our labels—”Authentic Dominican pride.”

The people who we met are proud and passionate individuals that care about community, family and yes, their music. Whether they’re dancing to Latin trap in New York or blasting bachata though the streets of Santiago, rhythm is something that’s so deeply embedded in their culture. We see that people—more so than ever—are embracing and championing their Dominican heritage.

Why was it important to connect to the Dominican community and culture for the brand?

Personally, I feel it’s always important to give a nod to the specificities of each culture. The brand has undergone re-positioning in the last year to no longer just stand for being the “#1 beer of the Caribbean.” While we are Caribbean, we are proud to be Dominican especially, which is not the “parasidic” version of the Caribbean you see on postcards of Punta Cana and all-inclusive resorts. The D.R. is truly a mixture of cultures and rhythms, and this is what the brand stands for around the world.

Talk about this specific event and experience, and will experiential marketing (particularly around music) continue to be a focus for the brand?

We connected with Sean on how to bring this film to life in a bigger way. Reaching out to locals, both in New York and in Santo Domingo, we were able to see firsthand how they built these sound systems for events they would throw in abandoned lots.

Bringing an authentic sound system van party here in New York City has been a primary focus as we’re working with van owners to transform a defunct petrol facility into a massive outdoor party. With the official launch on June 9th, the day included a full screening of the documentary, Dominican food and a lineup of artists representing the diversity of NYC sound system culture.

As music will always be a big part of the Presidente identity, we will continue to strive to bring culturally authentic and engaging experiences to life in the future. We’re excited to continue to showcase and give a voice to incredibly rich movements and subcultures, and partner with other up and coming ‘Musicologists’ in the future.


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