Island Breeze Slinks Into Town

NEW YORK Sex and the City may be long gone from cable TV, but Bacardi’s Island Breeze aims to tap into the urban chic image the series epitomized in ads starring Kim Cattrall.

Cattrall, who played all-star publicist and swinging party gal Samantha Jones in the series, heralds the arrival of Island Breeze as a spirit with “great taste and half the calories of traditional spirits.” In ads by Avrett Free Ginsberg, Cattrall shimmies and smiles her way through a party in a minimalist space while asking haute-looking partygoers what half the calories means to them. Among the answers, “slimmer cosmos,” “skinnier margarita,” “more pleasure” and “less guilt.”

“She wasn’t chosen” for her role on Sex and the City, said Scott Carlson, creative director at the New York agency. “She just kind of represents the lifestyle that Island Breeze is going after. She’s independent. She’s strong. She’s a trendsetter.”

The ads were also crafted as “a traditional new product introduction,” said AFG executive director Toby Dunn. “Most liquors sell themselves on the basics of image, because more often than not there are parity products. Bacardi is offering the customer something completely new.”

In addition to offering half the calories of traditional spirits and more than half the calories of beer or wine, Island Breeze also has less alcohol by content, Dunn said.

TV ads broke last week and are running on cable networks including E!, Oxygen, TNT, TLC, FX and VH1. Bacardi is spending an initial $5 million on the launch campaign, according to Dunn, although that figure may change.