--Backstory behind St. Lucia creative and advertising by CEO Jeff Goss
One of the most amazing, unspoiled destinations, and islands in the Atlantic, yet the branding “Simply Beautiful” with a hibiscus flower, a flower that existed on my own street in Atlanta, could be for any place, many places.
After the airline lost our luggage, and with the presentation coming early the next morning, the client said, with a deep island accent, “No problem, we go to…J. Crew,” or so we thought. Turns out the name of the store was J. Chew, or something or other. Anyhow, we all presented in vintage 1970's leisure suits.
We toured the waterfall that changes colors, a walk-in volcano, French and British ruins from the 17th and 18th centuries, and working banana and cocoa plantations. We had lunch at Ladera, the resort with the infinity pool where Christopher Reeve swam with Phillis Coates in Superman. After lunch we toured Soufriere, a place where the islanders listen to old American country music legends, like Jim Reeves, Merle Haggard, and Roger Miller, in little tin rum shacks with an average of four or five bar stools. I went in a local hardware store and bought a machete. The islanders in the shop laughed at me. Later I found out why: There were two different sized machetes; I bought the female version. ( In my defense, it was good steel, made in England, and seemed plenty heavy to me).
Passing little open-air , dirt floor shacks along the way, inside showing the islanders cooking on their coal-pots or stretching out for an afternoon nap, we drove up a canyon in a four-wheel drive until we couldn’t go any further. I can still see the colorful clothing and big smiles and hear the children’s laughter. We got out and began to hike. Me, my photographer (George Contorakas, - picture a Cuban, cigar smoking, very National Geographic looking photographer), and our guide, a lean, happy, big white teeth, island native of African descent. I was just hoping to get out alive, if we ever made it to where we were going. Finally, after a couple of hours of hiking during which we passed wild exotic plants and flowers, including cocoa plants, nutmeg, cinnamon, mangos, and banana plants, a feast for the senses, we reached the base of a thundering waterfall. The powerful water of The Sault appeared as if it were a king upon a throne, flanked by an army of Bird of Paradise flowers, reaching up for the sunlight and mist.
The photographer, being the pro that he is, needed no direction from me, so I, exhausted from days of travel, kicked back on a rock. Looking up at where the crown of the waterfall met the rich blue sky I dozed off. When I caught myself slipping off the rock I awoke, not knowing if I had been asleep minutes or hours. It seemed like days.
We developed concepts around each of the experiences, and then communicated them in a consistent campaign format. The colorful border represents the rich African, French, and British history. After all, they went to war over the island 150 years ago, with it exchanging hands 14 different times. The background represents the warm, friendly people, and the spices, cocoa, and goat milk found on the island. The script text is to convey the sophistication of food and culture, as well as the world class experience that comes naturally.