TV ‘less and less relevant’, says Bacardi marketing boss as brand trials programmatic

BacardiBacardi is set to distance itself from TV-led advertising with the drinks firms suggested some of its brands may shift their entire budget to social and digital marketing as it looks to target the younger market.

Global chief marketing office Dima Ivanov refused to completely rule out further TV advertising but said he “sits in the camp” of those who believe the medium has had its day.

“I would agree with that [that TV has become less relevant] and it is proven by the fact how much time the younger generation spend watching any TV program,” he told Mumbrella.


“Sport is probably the exception, but I am definitely in the camp of people who think TV is less and less attractive than ever before.”

He added that the brand would soon also experiment with programmatic marketing for the first time.

Bacardi, which has just under a year of its joint venture with Lion to run in Australia before the partnership is terminated, said it has adopted a major social focus over the past three years as it aims to connect with drinkers in the core 18-29 demographic.

Ivanov admitted awareness of what Bacardi was, and its heritage, was relatively low in Australia compared to the dominant local competitor Bundaberg, but said it was making up ground.

The Untameable campaign, which featured TV early last year in Australia and around the world, helped lift its profile but there remains work to be done, he said.

“We saw an increase in awareness in males aged 18 to 29 which was what we wanted, but have we lost a generation? I am not sure, but there are still a lot of young men in Australia who don’t know Bacardi is a rum. They would say Bacardi is Bacardi but do they know it’s from Cuba and that it’s a proper rum? Not really.

“Just knowing the brand by name doesn’t take you anywhere. We realised over time that we lost a little connection with the people so, yes, they know the brand but we became quite irrelevant for them.”

He said Untameable would continue as its global brand message, but with a digital and social focus.

Ivanov was in Sydney for the final of the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail competition, a global challenge which invites bar tenders from around the world to create, and market, their own Bacardi cocktails.

It was won by Frenchman Franck Dedieu, with Alissa Gabriel, from Rockhampton, among the finalists.

Ivanov said it would continue to work with the bar tenders to maximise their social following.

Bacardi Lion Australia managing director Denis Brown said the use of social, digital and in-bar experiences would drive the Bacardi brand, along with those of its sister brands Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire.

“Some of our brands will be 100 per cent digital going forward,” he said.

Brown described bar tenders as “celebrities in their own right” who have their own following on social channels. Working with them would be part of the marketing mix, he said.

“We are heavy on experiential and getting heavier on digital,” he explained. “Our mix is changing and we are moving away from the big TV advert type of idea.

“There are many cool bars in Sydney that have their own twist on drinks. It’s very engaging trying to collaborate with the bars and staff.”

He flagged a partnership Bacardi struck with Jamie Oliver on the UK chef’s Drinks Tube platform, which showcases the creation of cocktails, as a way is was using social media.

“He used a lot of cool barmen who were in the Jamie mould. It was good because people don’t search online for Bacardi cocktails, they search for ‘how do you make a daiquiri’ and with Jamie’s profile around the world, it helps you get on the landing page.”

Asked if the ads last year were the last time Bacardi would be seen on TV, Ivanov said: “You never know. You can never say never but that is not going to be the primary focus.

“Most markets around the world are going digital, but I wouldn’t even call it digital. There is a completely different social way of communicating with the consumer and Bacardi should be there because it is probably the youngest brand of the portfolio.”

Ivanov said Bacardi would also make its debut in the programmatic space shortly, with an approximate initial investment of around $200,000.

“It makes logical sense for some of the people we are trying to track and to be more relevant in their lives,” he said. “People are talking about programmatic and we want to head down a more digital path. But it is very much a pilot.”

The business will work with new global media agency OMD to plan a strategy.

Bacardi recently struck worldwide deals with a number of agencies, but he stressed it did mean it would pursue a “one size fits all” approach.

“It helps to build a global brand but you also need to deliver local relevance,” he said.

Steve Jones

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