Kuya Rum Plays to the Party Crowd

NEW YORK Allied Domecq Spirits this week launched a $20 million campaign behind the Kahlua brand extension, Kuya, a fusion rum the company hopes will appeal to men in their 20s.

Christened with a “Do ya Kuya?” tagline, print, radio and outdoor work from Publicis in London shows laughing 20-somethings enjoying good times made possible by Kuya. One ad shows a gaggle of beautiful young things partying in a Mexican border town. The copy reads, “They said you couldn’t hitchhike to Mexico. All I said was ‘Do ya Kuya?’ “

“It shows how an ordinary night can be catalyzed into something special just by the invitation, ‘Do ya Kuya?'” said Kuya senior brand manager Susan Kilgore.

Kuya, which combines the tastes of spiced and fruit-flavored rums, was launched in 18 markets in May. It will enter four additional markets by year’s end, Kilgore said. Ads aim at 21- to 29-year-old men looking for new rums to mix in cocktails, she said.

The Kahlua association is meant to legitimize the brand extension, rather than introduce it independently, Kilgore said.

“What we didn’t want to do is enter yet another proliferated category with another brand name that no one had ever heard of,” she said.

The rum sector made up nearly 13 percent of the U.S. spirits market last year, and sales are growing nearly 4 percent compared to last year, according to A.C. Nielsen statistics. Much of that growth is being driven by specialty and spiced rums, which were up nearly 9 percent during the same period.