Bacardi brings consumers to the party for 150th birthday

On February 4, Bacardi celebrated its 150th birthday.


Bacardi's 150th Anniversary
Agency Mix
Zeno Group (PR); Javelin Experiential Marketing Agency (event planning/execution); Johannes Leonardo (advertising); Blast Radius (digital and social media)
In-house team

Toby Whitmoyer, VP and brand managing director for rums at Bacardi USA; Michael Calabrese, senior brand manager; Christina Perez McDowell, brand manager


On February 4, Bacardi celebrated its 150th birthday. The family owned company began a year-long, multi-faceted effort to "let consumers know all about our amazing history and heritage," says Toby Whitmoyer, VP and brand managing director for rums at Bacardi USA.

"We didn't want to talk about ourselves as much as celebrate the fact we've been helping to start parties for 150 years," he adds.

Bacardi, with the help of media partners Condé Nast and GQ, as well as PR AOR Zeno Group, hosted a press event on January 23 at the Condé Nast building to unveil the new 150th anniversary ads, says Mark O'Connor, EVP of media at Zeno.

Teaming up with Rolling Stone, Bacardi officially began its celebration with a consumer event called "Bacardi Bash: 150 Years Rocking the Party," which was held in Indianapolis the night before the Super Bowl.

The party, which had more than 1,500 attendees, "transported guests back through different eras of Bacardi," with rooms for the 1920s, 1950s, and now, explains Whitmoyer. With music acts such as Gym Class Heroes and celebrities including Mad Men's Jon Hamm, the party was covered by USA Today, US Weekly, and entertainment show Access Hollywood.

O'Connor says Zeno will help Bacardi launch a number of other activities throughout the rest of the year. Social media is playing a "critical role" in engaging fans for the campaign, adds Whitmoyer.

Bacardi's Facebook page, with about 1.2 million US fans and 2.5 million worldwide, posted four videos about its heritage. After watching the films, consumers can enter a contest to win a limited-edition T-shirt, featuring an "iconic Bacardi advertisement from the last 150 years," he says.

Bacardi is also using Twitter to talk about the promotion, while blogger outreach has been part of the overall campaign strategy.

"We found people are interested in our story," says Whitmoyer, "but it must be told in a way that is relevant to consumers."

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