Edelman set to help Puerto Rico rums make US splash

CHICAGO: Puerto Rico will be paying Edelman more than $500,000 in the next year to promote Puerto Rican rums in the US. Puerto Rican brands include Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Ron Rico, and Don Q.

CHICAGO: Puerto Rico will be paying Edelman more than $500,000 in the next year to promote Puerto Rican rums in the US. Puerto Rican brands include Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Ron Rico, and Don Q.

Edelman had already been doing industrial affairs and tourism work for Puerto Rico, and was approached about promoting the island's rum about two months ago, said Caroline Dettman, Edelman SVP who will head what's expected to be a five or six-person account team.

The island had not promoted its rums in the past. Individual brands also had done little traditional PR, relying mainly on store-level promotions to garner brand attention, Dettman said.

Edelman surveyed the beverage media and found that Puerto Rico has low recognition as a rum producer.

It plans to establish a news bureau for Puerto Rican rums, and will recruit and train a spokesperson who can discuss the rums, much as winemakers use their wine masters to garner media attention, Dettman said.

The agency will also support Puerto Rican rum brands with sponsorships and at trade shows.

The account will be handled by Edelman's Chicago office, but will tie its efforts to tourism activities Edelman is handling for Puerto Rico out of its New York office, Dettman said.

Edelman has been promoting tourism and economic development in Puerto Rico since May. The rum assignment is for 2003.

Edelman has beverage experience with such brands as Korbel, Southern Comfort, Bacardi, Absolut, and Coors Light. It handles the largest gin brand in Australia, Bombay Sapphire, which is a Bacardi Martini brand in that country.

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