After an introduction by Bacardi USA President and CEO John Esposito, invited guests (mostly local distributors who help sell the brand) were told of Bacardi's new advertising and marketing plan -- world domination by targeting the LDA-24 male market (for those of us not well-versed in liquor-industry speak, that's "legal drinking age", 24, basically frat boys).
To further illustrate this point, we were invited to enter four different "interactive" Bacardi rooms.Room 1: Basketball
Basketball hoops were set up and Bacardi and Cokes were passed around in an attempt to bring out out the group's inner "playas". It was the entrance of former Miami Heat great Alonzo Mourning that really got the attention of the crowd.Room 2: Social Media
If you're going to target the 20-something's you'd better be well versed in Facebook. In this room, middle-aged men were treated to Bacardi Select and given a crash course in that new fangled Facebook thing. Tip number one: ask your kids to show you how to set up a Facebook account (We're sure they'll love the fact that dad's "liking" their new girlfriend's pic).Room 3: Fraternity Party
Beer pong, Bacardi ring toss, and what looked to be a game of Human roulette with alcohol were set up in this room. As we taste-tested Bacardi OakHeart (the brand's soon-to-be released spiced rum) and munched on nachos and chicken fingers, the convention center was turned into the world's most well-behaved (and well-dressed) frat party.Room 4: Interactive Bars
Bacardi set up interactive bars where guests could make their own concoctions using (what else?) Bacardi products and various mixers. Also on hand were bar stations serving the brand's three other new products -- Bacardi Arctic Grape (great if you like your booze tasting like soda), Bacardi Rock Coconut (served with pineapple juice, it made for a passible "instant" Pina Colada), and pre-mixed Bacardi Classic Daiquiri (Bacardi's answer to the pre-mixed margarita market).
Bacardi plans to spend $36 million on their advertising campaign this year, more than Absolut and Smirnoff. In Miami alone, Bacardi plans to place five giant building billboards, 135 taxi signs and 165 bus shelter ads. Expect to be seeing a lot of the Bacardi bat in the next year. And stock up on the ice and Coke.