Hunt to promote Caribbean rum amid subsidy dispute

A multi-million pound global brief is up for grabs to promote Caribbean rum as a dispute escalates over subsidies to multinational producers.

High standards: A brief to promote Caribbean rum is up for grabs
High standards: A brief to promote Caribbean rum is up for grabs

The brief, which has been put out by the West Indies’ Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA), is worth up to £4m and will run for almost three years.

It calls for an agency to create an integrated marketing and comms campaign to raise brand awareness and promote the ‘authentic Caribbean rum’ (ACR) marque.

The brief seen by PRWeek states: ‘The ACR marque is an instrument for, and a symbol of, authenticity, provenance and quality of premium rums from the ACP [African, Caribbean, Pacific] Caribbean.’

The marque is only given to rum produced from sugar cane juice or molasses within the Caribbean region.

The brief is the latest step made by the Caribbean to distance itself from global alcohol producers and comes at a time of increasing tension between the Caribbean region and the US, which has been accused of damaging the former by offering subsidies to multinational rum producers.  

Caribbean rum-producing countries are up in arms over the subsidies to multinationals in its territories, claiming they ‘cover over’ taxes back to the multinationals. It is suggested that the Caribbeans cannot compete on price.

In the brief, agencies are asked to focus specifically on America and Europe, with particular emphasis on Italy, Spain and the UK, where the marque is set to be reintroduced.

Additionally, work identifying ‘key trade publications and influencers’ will include a focus on ‘other world markets’ such as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.

Invitations to tender close near the end of this month, and between four and eight candidates are expected to be chosen for a formal pitch. Work is expected to start next January.

A spokesman for WIRSPA declined to give further details of the brief, but indicated it could be awarded to an individual agency with a global presence, or to a consortium of regional consultancies.


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