Watch: How a Caribbean song got the world moving
Earlier this year, the opening lyrics of “Flying High”, Machel Montano’s song for Caribbean Airlines, reverberated across the region. “Aunty in Miami calling...” and depending on the market, “she have pelau making” or “..she have ackee making.”
In a masterful piece of storytelling, Montano captures the idea that no matter where in the world you are, you’ll always be Caribbean.
The song was catchy, a powerful earworm that would have you humming without you even knowing it. Soon, there were radio sing-a-longs.
A dance video followed, going viral with more than two million views.
A road mix of the song landed just in time for the Carnival season, pounding from 20-foot speaker towers at fetes and road marches in 20 destinations from Port of Spain to Toronto.
The song became a part of Machel Montano’s set in live performances in the US and the Caribbean.
The airline created a global dance competition as part of a strategic move to take the brand beyond the Caribbean markets. The first response was from a dance crew located in, of all places, Fiji. As these things go, people started sharing the 1-minute video of the Mata Crew, leaping and flexing to “Flying High.”
Then, it was dance crews from far-flung places around the globe; Russia, the Philippines, Kenya, Romania. All told, 25 crews choreographed routines to the song, elevating “Flying High”, a soca song, to near cult-status among the global dance community.
“We knew we had something special from the start. Storytelling creates brand passion, especially among GenZ, and music is the universal way this happens. Plus, Machel Montano knows how to make a song a mission” says Garvin Medera, CEO, Caribbean Airlines.
“Our primary focus was to reach beyond the Caribbean and inspire interest among a global audience. We are excited that millions of people were introduced to Caribbean Airlines because of this virtual entertainment experience. The response was unprecedented; people loved it.”
This August, the 25 crews were judged by an esteemed panel of international dance experts, with Russia’s Blast Varsity emerging winners. Videos from the various dance crews logged more than 8 million views, with Russia Umka Strike with the most views.
“Imagine, young people from around the world who love hip hop dance, discover creative fuel in soca. That’s remarkable. But it also proves that if you want to talk to Gen Z, you have to meet them where their passions thrive,” says Medera.
All 25 videos can be viewed on the newly-launched Caribbean Airlines mobile app available on the Google Play and App stores.