In Conversation with the Creators of Amparo

by Alannah Wesley

Amparo is powerful immersive storytelling based on the original Havana Club family and their fight to protect their community, business and legacy in the face of the Cuban Revolution.

We begin in a vibrant bar in 1950s pre-revolution Cuba and guests are led through an interactive theatrical experience, which shows different perspectives and builds huge affinity with Havana Club’s heritage.

What struck me about Amparo was the age diversity of the audience. From grandmothers who lived through the repercussions of the upheaval to their granddaughters, united in a new-found understanding. The trend with many current brand experiences is to target millennials, press and/or influencers. Amparo does so much more than that.

It’s a fantastic night out and a first-rate example of how immersive can bring to life brand stories and create a deeper connection with audiences.

I talked to creators, Michael Sheehan and Giovanny Gutierriez, to get more insight on the project.

What was the original motivation / inspiration behind creating this experience?
The real story of Havana Club is too rich, complex and nuanced to share via a typical marketing channel like TV, print, or social. We needed a platform that would put consumers at the heart of our brand story and surround them in our truth. People connect more deeply to a story and a history through engaging and interesting characters.

What does the show mean to the audience?
Amparo is like a modern-day rite of passage for Cuban Americans. It offers them profound moments of catharsis and a deep connection to their heritage. Whether re-living the feeling of being exiled or experiencing it for the first time, people come away with a positive experience that allows them to feel and share great pride in their cultural roots.

In a nutshell, what has this achieved for Havana Club?
Not only has Amparo increased brand awareness, consideration and sales in our key markets, it has fundamentally changed the way we approach marketing and brand storytelling.

The creators of Amparo are Michael Sheehan, Paul Ramirez, Gio Gutierrez & Marisa Batista