Ernie Smith, Wayne Marshall, Mystic Davis collab for Red Stripe Christmas
THIS CHRISTMAS, Red Stripe celebrates with a blast from the past. Barrelling backwards over four decades into their archives, Red Stripe has reimagined the iconic 1972 Ernie Smith classic song and commercial Life Is Just For Living this time in collaboration with Wayne Marshall and Mystic Davis.
Ernie Smith recorded Life Is Just For Living specifically for a Red Stripe advertising campaign, coincidentally making an indelible mark on the country’s media history, becoming Jamaica’s first fulllength commercial.
Commissioned by Red Stripe and developed by Simon Bowden of Prism Communications Jamaica, the beer company’s 2016 Christmas campaign will feature the 1972 classic’s remix.
“Red Stripe is synonymous with the promotion of music, and authentic Jamaican music. When you think about things that are authentically Jamaican, Red Stripe comes to mind,” Stacy-Ann Smith, Red Stripe’s brand and corporate public relations manager, told The Gleaner. “We wanted to use this project to bridge the gap between the generations, to introduce [the] 21st century to some of the classics, some of the richness of our music,” said Smith. “So we decided to marry the two. Kill two birds with one stone, right? And that’s exactly what we did in this regard.”
For dancer/recording artiste Mystic Davis, “Wayne and I are here to bridge the gap between Ernie Smith and our generation. I think I brought the sass and feminine energy to connect this generation with the last.”
According to Davis, her part of the project was pulled off in just one weekend – with the wide-age-ranging trio recording the remixed song one day, then shooting their video the next.
“They showed us what the video looked like and what we were trying to recreate. And then we went to the studio!” she told The Gleaner.
“I was looking forward to working,” Marshall told The Gleaner, as he was approached earlier this year by Nasha Douglas, senior brand manager for Red Stripe.
“We went in studio with Mikey Bennett, went over everything and then they gave us a licence to be – in Mikey Bennett’s words, ‘respectfully irreverent’,” he said. “He’s one of the poets in Jamaican culture that I really appreciate,” Marshall continued. “We got a chance to kind of play with it, put our spin to it, which was good. And, of course, Ernie being there as the creator, as the originator of the melody and the lyrics, he was right there supporting. Him ah buss bere blank inna di studio! It’s very exciting to know our input was so well received by them.”
“This collaboration is really years in the making,” said Douglas. “As a brand, we’ve had many campaigns over the years, but Life Is Just For Living is perhaps the most iconic, as it captures two of the brand’s major tenants – reggae music and authentic Jamaican experiences.”
Up-and-coming singer Samantha Strachan (centre) gets a photo op with two musical icons Ernie Smith (left) and Wayne Marshall.
Director Darien Scott gets up close with Mystic Davis on the set of the music video-inspired ad.