A memorable advertising campaign? I’ll drink to that!

Bacardi promotion in Havana, circa 1920.

Bacardi promotion in Havana, circa 1920.

I believe advertising has become the least influential marketing channel. Sure, it’s still fundamental to creating awareness, but consumers of all kinds simply delete digital ads, flip past print ones or fast forward TV commercials.

I’m one of the biggest culprits in causing advertising’s demise. I simply don’t pay attention unless the highly-influential advertising trade media call my attention to something unique. Such is the case with Bacardi’s newest global campaign.

Entitled: ‘Untameable’, Bacardi’s advertising doesn’t try to sell rum. Instead, it informs, and educates, the reader about the countless battles Bacardi has fought over the years to stay on the shelves and in a drinker’s hand. To wit, Bacardi has survived:
–    A fire in 1880
–    Prohibition
–    An earthquake that destroyed its facilities
–    Fidel Castro’s seizing of Bacardi’s Cuban assets in 1960.

One ad is headlined, ‘Some men are kicked out of bars. Others are kicked out of countries.’  Another reads: ‘Earthquakes, fires, exile, Prohibition. Sorry Fate-  you picked the wrong family.’
Here’s why Bacardi’s advertising worked for this advertising hater. It didn’t talk at me. It didn’t try to be like every other liquor campaign and, critically, I learned a few things about a fabled brand. That’s very cool for someone who prides himself on lifelong learning.

Too many advertisers and too much category advertising looks, feels and sounds alike. Insurance is a great example. Since Geico’s pioneering use of comedy in its ads, every single competitor has followed suit (Think: Progressive’s Flo, Allstate’s Mayhem, etc.). While everyone chuckles at the TV spots, no one remembers who was selling what. And that, my friends, is death for a chief marketing officer being pressured to demonstrate ROI.

So, lift your glass to the marketing folks at Bacardi. They’ve accomplished something rare in advertising: a credible, informative and edgy campaign that engages me. Barkeep: another Bacardi and Rum, please. And, no prohibition on doubles, please.

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