If you bump into Di Wilson and her team in a tavern in Khayelitsha, don’t offer to buy them a drink. They’re not there for the shisa nyama and an ice-cold beverage: they’re working out how to get consumers to consider new brands in South Africa’s booming ready-to-drink (RTD) category.

Wilson, the CEO of integrated marketing agency Integer\Hotspot, has barely had time to catch her breath since last June, when her agency was awarded the shopper marketing account for Distell’s entire ready to drink (RTD) portfolio, including Hunters, Bernini, Extreme, Vawter and Esprit. 

The agency had already won the Savanna account after successfully pitching during lockdown. They then pitched for the Extreme and Bernini brands in April 2022 – and to their delight, were awarded Distell’s entire RTD business based on their design and execution capabilities and ongoing results. 

Given the mandate to create Distell’s off trade and mainstream playbooks, the Integer team has been spending significant amounts of time understanding the environment in which the brands actually live in stores and taverns. They’ve already executed several campaigns for Savanna and Hunters, and done some bespoke work for Bernini.

“RTD, as a segment, is booming. Convenient packaging, easy to consume, no preparation needed, great flavour profiles – what’s not to like? The challenge is to capture shoppers’ attention in a super-crowded marketplace, and to give them the tools they need at purchase time that lead them to consider new brands,” said Wilson.

No campaign or tactic is a stretch for Integer. They’re doing everything from in-store presence, awareness, conversion in store, premium displays and CTAs – often at the same time. There’s a strong element of in-store theatre, where they bring in creative elements and messaging in a shopper-focused way to show off promotions and to tie in to what the brands are doing above the line.  

The success of the partnership to date is down to what Wilson calls ‘a fantastic relationship, built on mutual respect’ with the client. And they’re only just scratching the surface of what’s possible, she says.

Winning Distell was yet another huge win for Integer\Hotspot, which started life on Wilson’s dining room table 23 years ago. Gavin Meek joined soon after, and has headed the agency’s creative offering ever since. Today, the agency has established itself as a media-neutral strategic and creative advertising and marketing agency working across most sectors and integrated strategic touch-points.  

The Shopper has always been at the heart of the agency, with Sonia Correia leading this focus. It prides itself on a strong TTL offering with a focus on shopper, delivering specialised POS and ensuring results. Integer\Hotspot is an affiliate of global commerce agency The Integer Group and a member of the Matrix Group.

It has been privilege to work with Di and the Integer team as partners to the Distell RTDs brands. The agency’s strategic and creative teams have taken the RTD brand’s BVI guardrails and delivered super premium execution assets for both the off trade and mainstream channels. The execution excellence on Savanna since 2021, showcased their capability and expertise in the BTL environment, and we have as a result awarded Integer with the full RTD Portfolio scope in 2022. We look forward to a long and rewarding partnership

Maija-Liina Hansen-Chipps­, RTD Category Lead at Distel