We caught up with Katie Denning about Captain Morgan’s latest partnership

Katie discusses her role at Diageo as well as Captain Morgan’s partnership with FanDuel, the premier online fantasy sports platform.


What has your Diageo experience been like since joining your current role to now?

I joined Diageo in March 2020, it has been one of the best challenges in terms of my growth as a marketer, and I think I’ve learned more in the past year than I have in my entire career about the art and science of marketing.

Tell us more about your current role as a Captain Morgan Brand Manager? What is the most exciting thing about this role?

A lot of the work I’ve led this year is with our sports sponsorships, namely Major League Soccer (MLS). This requires me to think about our approach to athletics through the lens of Captain Morgan, I really try to understand and put the consumer first. In the simplest terms, analysing every touch point a consumer has with Captain Morgan and the MLS – from how and where we show up on a digital platform, on TV, what influencers we partner with, what media partners we work with, and ensuring every time we go to market, we have a full 360 approach.

The most exciting thing about my role is that I work with a great team of people who I learn from every day and who don’t judge me for not knowing or understanding something. Captain Morgan is a massive brand, so being able to work and have such a strong support system within my team, encourages me to push and try new things.

Captain Morgan has just announced an exclusive partnership with FanDuel – tell us what this involves and why Captain Morgan is committed?

This year, Captain launched a new platform “Sub in the Captain” which is an overarching sports platform that encourages adult fans to ‘sub in’ something more exciting on game day. Effectively, encouraging fans to choose Captain Morgan on game days by swapping out their usual choice and opting to ‘sub in’ The Captain.

As we look to surround the substitution moment in sport, we decided to gamify the substitution moment in soccer. In order to do this, we partnered with FanDuel, the premiere destination for sports online, offering adult fans daily fantasy sports, online casino and more.

We launched “Captain Morgan Soccer Pick’em’s” a weekly, free entry contest for fans around the country to answer questions all around the upcoming Saturday’s soccer matches, every Saturday during the MLS season.

Weekly winners get their chance to win up to $3,000. This partnership is beyond a media buy – it’s a way for us to really dip our toes in the water of fantasy sports and gamification and with 10.8M registered users and 75M average monthly visitors to FanDuel, this is our way to try to penetrate new sports fans into the brand.

Explain how this partnership came about and what it has been like behind the scenes?

As a team, we were really looking at how we could push the boundaries and build equity in the game of soccer with the “substitution moment.” This idea came to fruition after we started discussing how we could better engage fans at home and at the stadium, ideally something that could really take us through the entirety of the season with consistently maintained fan engagement. We landed on the idea and worked closely with our media agency to explore the possibilities. 

What does this partnership mean for our people?

I think it shows we can really start thinking outside the box by exploring more current, trend forward ways to connect with our audiences. It gives myself and my team confidence that if you want to try something new or different you must persevere and just go for it. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies in what we think we can and can’t do.

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