Bacardi, the spirits company that got its start in Cuba in 1862 manufacturing rum, is turning its attention to the dark premium rum segment of the category. Dark rum is considered premium because it is aged longer in the barrels than white rum.
The company has unveiled a new campaign from BBDO in New York with a long-form spot co-directed by actors Michael B. Jordan and Paul Hunter that looks at the “angel’s share.” As rum is aged in a barrel, some of the liquid evaporates, which is called the angel’s share, a term also used for other aged spirits.
The ad follows three characters to illustrate the theme: Carlos, a rum master blender; Isabel, a bartender in a Caribbean bar; and Santiago, meant to be a member of the original Bacardi family. Photos of the actual Bacardi family taken from its archives are featured in the section of the film about Santiago. He and the other characters also appear in 30-second versions of the ad, each focusing on an individual character.
According to Roberto Ramirez Laverde, vice president of Bacardi Rums for North America, the company is focusing on dark premium rums because they represent a “huge opportunity.” He explained that Bacardi has found that consumers who already drink rum are trading up to premium alternatives in other spirits, such as whiskey and cognac.
Citing International Wine and Spirits Record statistics, Ramirez Laverde said, “Premium rum is only 15 percent of the entire rum category, while in tequila, 53 percent of all market share is premium, and in whiskey, 43 percent of all market share is premium. There is a potential of over $550 million in greater sales if an additional 25 percent of occasions are captured or consumers trade up.”
In April, Bacardi released a new portfolio of four premium rums: Bacardi Anejo Cuatro, barrel-aged for a minimum of four years; Bacardi Reserva Ocho, barrel-aged a minimum of eight years; Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez, barrel-aged for a minimum of 10 years; and Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada, barrel-aged for an average of 12 years. The four-year-old and 10-year-old rums are new, and the eight-year-old rum was redesigned and repackaged. These four brands join three others in Bacardi’s “Carta” portfolio of cheaper, younger white rums and its fruit-flavored rums to round out the new portfolio.
To stimulate sales of its dark premium rums, which Ramirez Laverde said Bacardi had already been aging, the company launched a marketing campaign in April touting the newest rums. In May, it began a series of events at bars in New York, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles to promote all but the most expensive new dark rums.
Ramirez Laverde, who said Bacardi is targeting all premium rum marketing efforts at consumers ages 26 to 34, said the company opted to work with Jordan on the new campaign because he is a “rum guy” and he is “going to add a lot of value.” Jordan is a silent partner in a new bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan called Las’ Lap.
Jordan’s and Hunter’s spots will run on cable and broadcast TV, on Bacardi’s social media accounts and on Jordan’s Instagram account. There also will be related out-of-home advertising in the five markets where events were held recently, plus Miami.