Puerto Rico seeks to boost image of its rums

NEW YORK: Rums of Puerto Rico, a division of the government-owned Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, launched a US marketing campaign called "Reflections," which aims to elevate the image of rum in its key New York, Miami, and Washington, DC, markets.

NEW YORK: Rums of Puerto Rico, a division of the government-owned Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, launched a US marketing campaign called “Reflections,” which aims to elevate the image of rum in its key New York, Miami, and Washington, DC, markets.

The campaign, which targets young urban professionals through PR, social media, and traditional advertising tactics, also aims to strengthen the connection between the spirit category and Puerto Rico, explained Javier Figueroa, director of Rums of Puerto Rico.

“The main goal we have is to communicate to consumers the quality of our rum,” said Figueroa. “Many don't know that our rum is aged by law, [and] people perceive it as drink you can only drink in the tropics and on vacation.”

The team is working with US AOR DKC, as well as marketing groups from the five rum brands it represents, including Bacardi, Don Q, Ron Llave, Ron Barrilito, and Palo Viejo.

PR and social media, which Figueroa said accounts for about 30% of the overall campaign, includes sponsorship of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, event lounges at Madison Square Garden City Field, traditional media tours and outreach, and Twitter and Facebook promotion.

“We have to be aggressive in PR because we have a rich history behind the rum making process,” said Figueroa. “It's very difficult to convey that message in one TV commercial.”

The team also launched an interactive Web site with a “rumarize your photo” feature, videos, downloads, and links to Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, said Figueroa, the site will focus more heavily on the history of rum, and it will provide rum recipes and offer training for bartenders.

“It will be like a one-stop shop to go in and learn everything,” he said.

Figueroa explained that the US is the largest market for the rum industry, and it's especially important to Puerto Rico due to a US import rebate. He noted that the multimillion-dollar rebate goes toward economic development in Puerto Rico.

Figueroa added that the campaign strategy and timing is not at all related to the ongoing lobbying battle between P.R. and fellow territory US Virgin Islands regarding the use of the rebate funds. "This is the first time someone talked to me about it in relation to the campaign,” he said.

The team is also working with the organization's Puerto Rico-based ad and PR agency, Key Integrated Solutions.

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