A dash more insight into the True Originals campaign from Bacardi

I saw this turn up in the thread that followed DigiBuzz, an Australian Digi marketing blogger tearing down the holes in the campaign and the utterly bad ROI. It prompted a response on one of the crew responsible:

Graham Hodge Says:
August 3rd, 2010 at 9:51 pm

May I offer a few words in defence of Bacardi? I feel I have a valid point-of-view having proposed, developed, launched and run this programme for Bacardi.

Weirdly, I pretty well agree with everything you say Aden (especially the bit about the films being “fantastic” and “amazing” – thanks for that!). Judged by the standards of consumer campaigns, it’s a fail. We used hardly any of the usual tricks you can deploy to reach as many as people as possible and achieve the holy grail of “going viral”.

But that wasn’t the objective. The objective was to engage the global community of professional mixologists with some really cool content that highlighted Bacardi’s role in the genesis of many of the world’s favourite cocktails.

Top-tier bartenders use Facebook – a lot. We wanted to create a home for the content that didn’t require the audience to go into the usual Bacardi enivronment. (You’ll notice that the films are barely branded – that’s the real innovation here.) Facebook fitted the bill.

We have also been working with some influential cocktail bloggers (e.g., and premiered the most recent film at Tales Of The Cocktail, a trade-show in New Orleans where pretty well all of the world’s top bartenders gather. Facebook and YouTube were just two of the channels we used to reach that audience, not the end in itself.

As for ROI, given the objective and the audience, we think 60,000 views and 1,000 fans are great results – though not as great as the comments we’ve had from some of the world’s most highly regarded bartenders.

But the real ROI comes when you, a consumer, order a Cuba Libre at your favourite bar, and the bartender tells you that Bacardi was the rum used in the first Cuba Libre ever made, back in 1900, and that you should really think about having that Cuba Libre with Bacardi, not Havana Club.

Now, is there an opportunity to evolve this project for a larger audience? Of course there is, and all of your suggestions are 100% valid (watch this space for a competition — but again, it’s very targeted!). But for the time being, this initiative is for bartenders, and isn’t one of the great things about the Internet that it enables communities – of any size – to come together and share stuff they care about?

I’m not sure how a video targetted at bartenders is going to get a consumer to ask for a cuba libre, and while the Mojito, Daiquiri, Pina Colada and the Cuba Libre are all Bacardi “Originals” there isn’t a lot in the way of story in addition to tell these little facts.

Maybe it’s like Tom Cruise said in Cocktail, “Why didn’t you just tell me it was a rum and coke?’ a sentiment that is backed up by this 1984 print ad.


3 thoughts on “A dash more insight into the True Originals campaign from Bacardi

  1. But the Bacardi of 1900 is apparently not even close to the Bacardi of a century later. The Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 author recommends using either a Cuban or a Martinician rum to simulate the Bacardi of that era.

  2. Pingback: Truly Original « Everyday Drinking

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