Crafting Bacardi Brand Experiences
It’s not everyday that we touch a brand turning 150 years old. But, over the years, it has been a pleasure to work with a number of brands that are in their 100s, from Coca-Cola (126 yo) to Philips (121 yo) and General Motors (104 yo). Taking care to understand the heritage of these brands and their relationship across generations of customers, is simply paramount.
Bacardi has more than 150 years of heritage and is now the steward of many other top brands.
Before starting work with Bacardi, I didn’t know all that much about the brand or about rum. My father always had Bacardi in the liquor cabinet, and I knew that I liked rum. I had sipped it in delicious tropical drinks, a few punches and at least once during an actual hurricane party (during a real hurricane). But, what I discovered during my time working with Bacardi was absolutely fascinating.
There was so much to dig into about the brand, the parties they inspired and about the family that still owns and runs not just Bacardi Rums but so many prestigious brands including Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose. Did you know that Bacardi is the world’s most awarded rum?
In Cuba, Bacardi tamed the wild spirit (aka rum) of sailors and pirates inventing a distillation process that elevated rum to such heights that it became worthy of royalty. In fact, it received the Spanish royal seal, which you can still seen proudly displayed with the brand. It has won countless awards, and Bacardi helped shape the cocktail culture that came about during US prohibition as people flocked to a free Cuba for a bit of sophisticated indulgence.
The Rum of the Bat
Many people wonder about the bat and why it is so prominent in the branding and on the bottles of Bacardi Rum. The story is quite an interesting one.
After taming the wild spirit, Facundo Bacardi and his wife, Amalia, purchased a distillery in 1862 and started to bottle and sell Bacardi Rum to a largely illiterate Cuba. His wife felt that they need a symbol to be known by. She brought up the icon they settled on, the bat, because of the fruit bats that were in the rafters of the distillery. In Spanish culture, bats symbolized good fortune and family.
This “branding” move definitely brought about good fortune. Bacardi became known as “the rum of the bat” and was ordered as such by Cubans due to the iconic bat. You still see this reference on the packaging saying “El Ron del Murcielago.” There are many amazing stories like this throughout the history of the brand, its family and the rich culture they have embodied in Bacardi Rums.
Staying true to 150 year old icon
Working with a core team at Attik in San Francisco, the team was able to produce a big next step for the brand. You may have seen some glimpses of it in recent Bacardi Oakheart executions or even in Bacardi Superior itself.
Here is a sneak peek into where Attik, along with Experience Rethink and the Bacardi brand team, were able to take the brand identity.
Moving Bacardi from the existing bubble treatment on a white field to a much more bold and masculine brand presence on a black field.
We were able to take the primary background pallet from white to black and bring a very clear, consistent headline treatment. There have been many other updates including setting photography styles and clearly defining how to articulate the brand across many key channels.
Bacardi’s spiced rum, Oakheart, shows how we maintained elements to unite the look and feel across the rum portfolio while still remaining true to the sub-brand’s differentiating characteristics. In doing so, we’ve made it easy for shoppers to associate all the elements with Bacardi no matter what type of rum they drink.
Here’s to Bacardi bringing people together for another 150 years of delicious drinks and amazing celebrations!
Pro tip: Three easy ways to start the party–Try two originals, the Bacardi Hand Shaken Daiquiri and the Cuba Libre, or spice things up with the Oak & Coke featuring Bacardi’s new Oakheart Spiced Rum.