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The Making of the first Cider Drink in Nigeria and the Uncommon Experience

                                                                    Friends with their bottles of Cedar at the special launch
 
Nigerian breweries blazed the trail yet again as an innovative manufacturing and marketing concern recently when it introduced the first Cider drink into the Nigerian market. 
 
According to Tope Ayedun, a UK based Marketing Practitioner and contributor to Brandcrunch,  the Nigerian market is long overdue for Cider drink, however he gave the leading brewer a ‘thumb up’ for seizing the opportunity the market provides while acting on consumer insight to provide the first Cider in Nigeria. A Cider drink is one made with fruits especially apple with minimum additives.  
 
As a new concept in providing the highly sophisticated and demanding consumer with alternatives, the promoters of the new entrant supported the product’s marketing with a unique and demonstrative experiential marketing effort aimed at winning converts and give the new product a sound footing in the market and win for it follow decent followership. 
 
The brand activation tagged #GoldenHourExperience unveiled at the busy Ikeja City Mall grounds last Friday. It’s a special and purpose built solo exhibition which simulated the making of Strongbow Cider drink from start to finish. The long and revolving train of visitors largely made up youth ended up in the belly of the well-designed lounge to savour the drink along with good music and chops. 
 
In a team of 20s, the visitors are admitted in the special Strongbow marquee various sections marked out as departments where each of the team member experiences first-hand how the Strongbow Cider is made. 
 
At the Strongbow Cider marque’s entrance are the barrel chested bouncers to screen and admit the visitor. The visitor is welcomed by one of the brand’s delectable female ambassadors into the orchard where the apple is grown to certain weather condition in a bid to produce the best.  The visitor is made to feel the apple, he takes one red apple, caresses it, see the beauty.   While this is going he suddenly feels the jerking and creaking of the platform upon which he stands.  To compliments this, he sees on the large TV screen large consignment of apple being transported from the farm to the Cider manufacturing plant. His sensory is fully connected as you feel the rasping as the loaded heavy duty trawler moves the large consignment of apples to the factory. 
 
The visitor is made to drop the apple he holds on a conveyor belt that takes it to the washing barrel. The next stop in the experiential marquee is the washing and crushing section. The fruit is washed and through the conveyor goes into the crusher to remove the juice in the simulated industrial set up. The juice is then further transported into a silo where it is kept for 11 days for fermentation. Thereafter, it is bottled in a crystal clear glass bottle.
 
As part of the experience, still in batches of 20s, the visitor is ushered into the finished product section where a the bottled  Strongbow Cider with embossed chest crest and well-designed neck and body labels with name – Strongbow Cider clearly indicated on the black ground is displayed. 
 
The display system provides another interesting spectacle. The system through some electromagnetic effects keeps the filled bottle suspended in the air, some two inches on the machine while the bottle also rotates to radiate the beauty of the bottle, its glossy and shining lables as well as its gold spackling content.   
 
With amazement the visitor is ushered into the well-lit and expansive lounge to join other visitors to savour the first Cider in Nigeria.  The mood is pleasant, as the drink with its 4.5% alcoholic content is served chilled  and complemented with good music by the DJ and chops to put every in a real TGIF mood and also start off a rollicking and action packed weekend. 
 
For most of the visitors that came in from the Ikeja City Mall’s “Shoprite” crowd, experiencing the making of the Cider drink contributed to their enjoyment of the brand as the conditions were apt (served chilled),  to douse the heat and tension of the day. It’s crisp taste provides some kind of uncommon experience for the visitor.
 
Commenting on the product launch, Senior Brand Manager, Strongbow, Ngozi Nkwoji said, “Strongbow is an alcoholic drink that is globally popular and that Nigerians will love, especially those who want to try something new.  We believe Strongbow will be best enjoyed by young Nigerians as they wind down after work or on a night out with friends, we call this the Golden hour. The Golden Hour is that time of the day just before the sun goes down, it signifies a time to let loose with friends and to enjoy the refreshing taste of ice cold Strongbow.”
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