At Critical Juncture, Bacardi Tries To Capture Millennial Attention With #BacardiHouseParty
After reorganizing its marketing operation and selecting new agencies, Bacardi aims to recapture lost market share and make rum cool again.
Trying to capture the intimacy of a house party while also conveying the impression of freedom that knows no bounds, Bacardi rum this week kicks off its first work since signing Omnicom shops as agencies of record for all of its spirits brands. The campaign, which Bacardi’s CMO characterizes as supported by “unprecedented” spend, features the tagline, “There’s Nothing in the Way,” and it’s using the hashtag #BacardiHouseParty.
Aimed squarely at Millennials, the campaign centers around “The Truck,” a 30-second video spot that follows a group of friends partying in a Victorian house that’s hauled through various picturesque locations but stops occasionally to pick up good-looking young people. The video is shot with a handheld camera for an informal vibe. This general theme and approach will be reflected in multiple channels, including a special mobile execution on Facebook.
Bacardi has a lot riding on the new campaign. Rum, generally, has lagged in popularity recently in the US for various reasons, including its reputation as a mixing spirit, rather than one that stands on its own, according to a report in The Spirits Business. Additionally, Bacardi rum specifically has declined in market share, dropping to second in sales in the category for the first time in years in 2014, the publication reported. CEO Mike Dolan, in speaking to The Spirits Business, blamed the decline on poor marketing.
To turn this trend around, Bacardi back in April announced that BBDO Worldwide would be handling creative duties, while OMD Worldwide would take care of media planning and buying. In making the change, the brand said OMD would be tasked with implementing “innovative and cutting-edge ideas, rooted in data-driven insights, to reach Millennial consumers.”
Meanwhile, the company dramatically restructured its worldwide marketing structure, saying goodbye to Global CMO Dima Ivanov, who had just joined less than a year earlier, to better align with the agencies. It also appointed Zara Mirza to the role of global head of creative excellence to manage the agency relationship.
“It has become increasingly clear that we have to change in order to win,” Dolan said in a statement. “And believe me, we are in this to win. We have world-class brands and agency partners. Now it’s about changing how we organize to give our people, our partners and our brands a real shot at success.”
Mauricio Vergara, Chief Marketing Officer for North America and global lead for Bacardi rum, said of the new campaign: “It’s an exciting time for the brand. We have been bold with the structural changes we’ve made and we’re going to be bold with our creative choices. The stakes are high and we are in this to win. It’s a real step-change in how the brand is marketed.”
The central video began airing this week on TV during American Horror Story: Hotel, Jimmy Kimmel Live and SportsCenter and also has started appearing in online advertising on Pandora, Hulu, YouTube and ESPN.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the outgrowths of the House Party on wheels in the ad is an East Coast tour, where the house — and the accompanying party — visits various cities, beginning with a Halloween party in Philadelphia.
On Facebook, the rum brand will employ Immersive Canvas, a new mobile content ad unit that serves viewers an experience similar to an entire micro-site when they click on the ad. So far, only a few brands — none of them alcohol brands — have gotten a chance to use the new unit.
Besides the advertising, the brand’s social media presences have been made over for the new campaign effort, and it’s promoting the video via its accounts.
— BACARDI (@BACARDI) October 12, 2015
Reaction to the ad has been largely positive, but it hasn’t gotten the same kind of viral traction that we’ve seen with other videos — sharing and view numbers are still mostly in the double digits, though YouTube has made it to just over 10,000 views.