Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Recording artiste I-Octane has been named brand ambassador of the Busta soft drink brand.
The Lose A Friend singer has signed a one-year contract with the popular drink company and is expected to represent Busta across the Caribbean.
Also a brand ambassador for telecommunications giant Digicel, the artiste will now be part of the current movement by Busta to tap into the youth market.
"We wanted the best and as a striving brand in Jamaica, and as a brand that primarily focuses on the community and the inner city, we looked for that artiste, that person who could represent that look which we wanted. So naturally I-Octane was the person of choice and he is well loved by the youth, as you can see by his recent award courtesy of the Youth View," said Ricardo Skyers, the regional sales manager at Busta.
"Busta is a big part of the culture and so is dancehall, and Busta will align itself with culture. Even though our head office is in Trinidad, most of the staff is in Jamaica. So naturally. the partnership will involve the culture, so it's a match made in heaven," Skyers said.
Regional brand manager for Busta, Kyle Leelum, says Busta fell in love with I-Octane's personality and responsibility.
"He has love for his fan base and his people, and this is the way we deal with the brand at home. We try to align the brand with good corporate social responsibility, more of an emotional connection and I-Octane is about that. He is not about the fame and the glitz and the glamour, but more about being true to himself and being true to the people he cares about and that really drove us to engage in a partnership with him, " said the Trinidadian.
Leelum hopes the I-Octane partnership will enable the brand to cement that connection with consumers.
"We are looking for a harmonious marriage, Busta has done very well, especially in Jamaica, throughout all socio-economic classes and I-Octane has done pretty much the same. So it's like two powerhouses collaborating. Busta has some very interesting things coming up, I can't give away too much information, but this year it's about giving back to those who helped us to reach where we are. And this year is about giving back to the people, you our consumers, and if we can do that through mediums like the great music of I-Octane and other people, and continue with good corporate sponsorship to help you the consumers, then that is where we are going this year. Look out for some good things and some big things," Leelum said.
I-Octane had an overseas engagement and was unable to attend the contract signing at the Busta headquarters in Portmore, St Catherine. However, his publicist/manager, Ray Alexander, praised the artiste for maintaining a clean image.
"I-Octane has a clean image and he is corporate friendly. He has a good management team of about 10 persons and we ensure that we push the brand in the best way possible. The brand is standing up and we always try to keep ourselves away from associating with certain negative elements," Alexander said.
I-Octane later contacted The Gleaner via telephone to say his new career developments might break barriers for dancehall/reggae contemporary music.
"It's a good look for me and reggae music, it opens doors for me, reggae music and other artistes. Music for me is an everyday thing and the companies see that and respect my work ethic. These endorsements can hopefully break barriers for the local music industry," he said.
Publicist Theresa Smalls was the mediator between I-Octane and Busta.
According to her, the negotiation process went smoothly, in part, because I-Octane and Busta had a lot in common.
Commercials featuring I-Octane will be featured on media houses in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, Dominica, St Lucia, among several other islands.