CORAL GABLES, FL: Bacardi USA partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) as part of a three-year deal to promote the Bacardi Gold rum brand.
The partnership includes consumer branding and PR, CSR, and traditional advertising.
“We were looking at the business and trying to understand what it would take to create a program for Bacardi Gold, to build an identity for it for the first time on its own,” said Margaret McDonnell, brand director at Bacardi Rums USA.
She added that while the Bacardi Superior demographic is split between male and female, consumer interest in Bacardi Gold skews male. To grow the brand, Bacardi USA created a program to specifically target men.
“Sports became a simple solution,” said McDonnell.
The brand is working with the NBA's internal PR team and Corbin-Hillman Communications, which handles various Bacardi USA PR projects, to promote the partnership via local events, co-branded giveaways, sampling, social media efforts, and editorial outreach.
Events, including NBA “legend” appearances, will play a large role in the PR portion of the campaign, said Sean-Patrick Hillman, EVP at Corbin-Hillman Communications. He added that the firm has worked with the brand in the past to identify spirits, lifestyle, and entertainment influencers.
"Now we're expanding that into sports," said Hillman. “The promotional activity goes beyond the cities and NBA teams, as this really is a national program."
He said that the team is still finalizing the PR budget, but “it will be somewhere in the six-figure range.”
Additionally, Bacardi Gold and the NBA will launch the Gold Standard Scholarship Program, which will provide financial assistance to minority college students in select NBA markets through partnerships with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
“There's a lot that's going to happen in next three years that's PR-driven around this program,” said Hillman. “We are in midst of planning for what next year looks like; it'll involve a lot of events and media-driven efforts.”
McDonnell said that Bacardi USA will update its current corporate partnerships with various regional NBA teams and arenas to feature the Bacardi Gold brand.
Bacardi USA also plans to promote the brand regionally, through events with the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA Development League.
“We haven't even begun to scratch the surface regarding synergies with other partners,” she said.
Correction: Following a quote in the 12th paragraph, Hillman was incorrectly referred to as Corbin. We regret the error.