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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

Navigating Tinder Like a Captain

Winner in Wine, Beer & Spirits, Dating Apps

Audience Honor in Dating Apps


In the face of five year declines in consideration and brand relevance metrics, and strong competition from newer, fresher faced brands, Captain Morgan needed to find a fast, innovative way to personally connect with the next generation of legal drinkers in the USA, aged 21 to 24.

The stability of the Captain Morgan brand and sales are critical to the overall health of the North American Diageo business.

Our challenge was to introduce Captain Morgan to 21-24-year-old spirits drinkers, in a way that would drive increased consideration and trial metrics for the brand, sparking a new relationship between this next generation of drinkers and The Captain.

As they enter adulthood, 21-24 year olds are exploring new social connections and relationships – they are 242x more times likely to seek out and ask for dating advice (vs. 21-34 year olds). Lastly, our data showed that our audience is drinking rum when they are out of the house and socializing with other people. They are 74% more likely to be drinking rum on a date.

The Captain has always had a strong, gregarious personality that has previously connected well with new drinking audiences. Understanding our audience's behaviors with rum on dates and (digital and physical) social situations, we had an opportunity to provide a one-to-one connection with the brand that delivered social utility, entertainment and advice.

Like many other men in America, the Captain took to Tinder.

Strategy and Execution

Our strategy leveraged Tinder as the perfect way to introduce the next generation of drinkers to the charming and humorous Captain Morgan brand character. While you couldn't actually date The Captain, you could get some one-on-one time with him virtually, and enjoy entertaining dating advice from him.

We created a Tinder profile for The Captain in partnership with the brand's creative agency, with a cohesive creative platform for the idea: "Navigating Tinder like a Captain".

To deliver utility in the context of Tinder, we leveraged the top-10 dating research and data insights from Tinder to develop six videos that showcase The Captain delivering witty and humorous dating advice. We collaborated with Tinder to bring the personality and brand to life via his Tinder profile – a photo gallery, bio, and an automated reply sent to those who swiped right. The Captain had different profiles, personalized for context; people seeking men or people seeking women, allowing us to adjust our replies with the most relevant information.

Captain Morgan was first to market in the spirits category with this Tinder innovation and truly unique in its use of Tinder data to drive the creativity and relevance of the messaging. Additionally, the integrated agency team activated the concept at the speed of culture – in 6 weeks from challenge identification to going live on the platform.

The audience responded warmly to the campaign. A Reddit thread was littered with stories of being matched with The Captain and Twitter lit up with positive sentiment:

"When you match with @CaptainMorganUS on tinder… You know your life is complete. My one and only man." @_xoxocaseyy

"Matched with @CaptainMorganUS on tinder and that might be the best swipe right ever." @kenziemontague

Despite the speed to market required of this campaign, Captain Morgan took the time to understand how to add value to a consumer experience, not interrupt them with brand messaging. Captain Morgan tapped insights that infused media usage, drinking habits and dating preferences of the next generation of legal drinkers to design the ideal campaign cocktail.

According to Melissa Upjohn, Captain Morgan Brand Manager, "This partnership was a [Tinder] match made in heaven. The results prove that having an icon like Captain Morgan accompanied by dating insights and clever execution creates genuine platform integration that grabs people's attention."


In just 30 days active on Tinder, almost 3 million 21-24 year olds saw The Captain on Tinder, blowing all our expected metrics out of the park like a cannon ball out of a pirate ship. The Captain connected with this next generation of drinkers, both one-on-one and created cultural resonance, with strong earned media results, particularly via Reddit and Twitter.

Our business KPI was to increase Trial by +2% and consideration by +5%. Trial of Captain Morgan increased by 9%, consideration increased by +14% in the quarter following the activation.

Our attitudinal KPIs were to increase brand love by +10% and increased metrics aligned with the statement "is a brand that is always doing something fun and interesting" by +10%.

We increased brand love by +37%, and delivered 5x expected increase on "is a brand that is always doing something fun and interesting", increasing this by 50%!

In media metric terms, we also over-delivered versus Tinder benchmarks, with a 156% over delivery on positive engagements, achieving 2x the benchmark on engagement rate, and 144 index on CTR benchmark.


Video for Navigating Tinder Like a Captain

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Carat, Diageo

Entry Credits