Rum brand Captain Morgan’s tribute to title-winning Leicester City captain Wes Morgan was Diageo’s most successful European social media campaign of 2016.

The defender became the face of a limited-edition Captain Morgan bottling as Diageo celebrated the astonishing Premier League success of Leicester City Football Club, which is owned by King Power International Group (Thailand).

Marketing trade magazine The Drum reported that the campaign delivered 26,000 social posts and over 100 pieces of press coverage worldwide. Only 5% of the results came from paid-for media.

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Attention grabber: Some 11,000 of the limited-edition bottles were produced in two weeks and sold out within 24 hours

The first of the limited-edition bottles was produced at the beginning of May 2016 following a Twitter exchange between the drinks company and Wes Morgan, which came about after Leicester City were crowned Premier League champions. Captain Morgan sent a congratulatory message to its namesake using the hashtag #OnlyOneCaptainMorgan and a picture showing the Leicester player as the face of the brand’s bottle. Wes Morgan then jokingly asked for a real version to be sent to him, and the idea soon became reality.

Originally only a small batch of the bottles were produced for media and consumer giveaways. But following unprecedented demand from Leicester City fans, a further 11,000 bottles were released to be sold exclusively in the city. Around 1,000 bottles were made available at the club’s King Power stadium, which were all sold within 42 minutes.

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When captains collide: The tweet that set the wheels of the campaign in motion

King Power International Group Senior Executive Vice President Susan Whelan said after the release: “We had an incredible response from Leicester City fans when we unveiled the commemorative ‘Wes Morgan’ bottle to celebrate the club’s historic triumph with Wes Morgan at the helm. We’ve been working hard to respond to this demand, and are delighted that fans have the chance to buy the limited-edition bottles at Leicester City Football Club.

“The success of the project is a testament to the long-standing relationship between Diageo and King Power, and has been a very enjoyable and unique collaboration.”

The Drum quoted Diageo Head of Culture and Entertainment for its Europe business Leila Fataar as saying it was a big challenge to get the bottles produced within two weeks. “The idea was to put the shine on him [Wes Morgan] and celebrate the underdog coming through, which is where the #OnlyOneCaptainMorgan hashtag came from,” she told the title.

“It’s a Jamaican rum and he’s Jamaican so the alliance came through well and when the stars align like that then you have to grab the opportunity and run with it.”

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Entering the spirit of the occasion: The contract signed by Wes Morgan requires him to dress like Captain Morgan at fancy dress parties