Bacardi Rum, 80 Million Bucks & Facebook

Bacardi recently launched its latest campaign, called "Islands," which is poised to make a splash (pun intended) in the world of social media -- but in the end, what is the company trying to accomplish? Like any successful marketing campaign, a social media push should do two things: build the brand and sell more rum. The real question social marketers want to know is, how does Bacardi go about dropping a good amount of marketing money in social media and drive sales?

From what I can tell, company strategists have decided to spend the entire budget (which is probably less than $80 million) on a one-minute commercial and then post it on YouTube and Facebook. It would be unfortunate if that was the entire scope of the campaign, because the video is fantastic and the possibilities for engagement on Bacardi's behalf are huge. For that to happen, however, strategists need to take a few more steps.

First of all, as of Oct. 14 the rum giant had 32,187 fans on its official Facebook page; compare that to the more than 432,000 fans Absolut vodka has, and it looks like the "Islands" campaign has its work cut out for it. A heavy digital campaign skewed toward social media ramping up the fans should be Bacardi's No. 1 priority.



Of all the social channels, Facebook fans are your most important brand advocates; this is Bacardi's loyal army of enthusiasts that serve as the gateway to the rest of the most valuable social network we have. One way to the think of these fans is to to consider how online marketers place a lifetime value on each email address they collect. While calculating the value of a Facebook fan is not as straightforward, I'll bet you money their worth is at least 10 times that of an email address.

Also, thanks to the free analytics section available on corporate fan pages, a big digital push can be looked at in terms of how successful each post was in driving engagement. What are fans reposting, how many people click "like," and what are the fans sharing?

Of course this begs the question of how you get more fans. Obviously dropping a ton of cash on a new campaign offline helps -- but there are some easy ways to drive this number. The first one is the most obvious: Take the channel (Facebook) seriously. Putting your TV spots up there is probably not going to cut it. Bacardi needs to create a voice that the brand inhabits, one that speaks specifically to this audience.

Additionally, no one can become a fan if they don't know you have a fan page. Drop on some of the tchotchkes that get handed out at clubs; also, some Facebook ads probably wouldn't hurt.

Another great way to ramp up your fans is to offer them something they can't get elsewhere. I'm sure Bacardi, like most liquor companies, sponsors a night out where drink specials and trinkets are featured -- so how about one just for the fans? Absolut recently offered 10 of its Facebook fans the chance to win tickets to a Jay Z concert it was sponsoring, showing that the company both takes its fans seriously and offers something unique for their friendship.

Having a conversation with your Facebook audience goes to the heart of what makes social media the best marketing channel to come along since email. This is permission-based marketing with a built-in viral component, complete with a full set of analytics going out to a demographic that most advertisers would kill for.

Social Media Insider David Berkowitz is on vacation.

8 comments about "Bacardi Rum, 80 Million Bucks & Facebook ".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, October 16, 2009 at 12:46 p.m.

    If I was Bacardi I would be much more focused on driving people to their website and any mobile web applications they have with the 80 million. I would also set up deals at point of sale in retail liquor selling establishments, because if brands like Meyers are about the same price Meyers will win the sale every time. Brands and Social Media experts think Facebook fans are much more valuable than they really are. since most people scan their NewsFeed's first page ONLY (maybe page two) people with lots of friends and fans and causes won't see much of Bacardi's marketing efforts. But if they are lured to their website that contains great engagement and maybe coupons that is the key. Also since Facebook had 92 million unique visitors in August out of 300 million accounts, that means only 1 of 3 fans on average logged in during that month. So cut your numbers to real vs nominal.

    I think they can spend that 80 million with a much bigger impact than focusing on social media as noted above. Give me 20 million and I will give an equal ROI to the 80 mil they are spending. Money in the bank!

  2. Mitchel Ahern from One to One Interactive, October 16, 2009 at 1 p.m.

    IMHO Bacardi has one of the coolest logos in all of drinkdom - a stylized bat. They should make more of it. In addition Bacardi has supported bat conservation for a very long time, it's one of the reasons I'll occasionally purchase a bottle. They should make more of that as well. Cool logo; authentic good environmental citizenship: social media gold!

    Focus on the relationships, not one-time media blitzes.

  3. Juston Brommel from, October 16, 2009 at 3:32 p.m.

    I'd like to see a follow-up article on how can brand marketers justify and optimize their media? Maybe some brief insight here?

  4. Mark allen Roberts from Out of the Box Solutions, LLC, October 16, 2009 at 3:46 p.m.

    Feels like a campaign driven by a “smore” (social media whore) not a strategic marketing partner as discussed in my blog:

    A strategic marketing partner would attach to the goal, the desired outcome; Sell more. They may not win an addy award, but strategic marketing partners keep clients.

    The island they may find themselves on is LOST.

    Mark Allen Roberts

  5. Jim Gallant from LIcensed to Write, October 16, 2009 at 4:53 p.m.

    I think the key here for Barcardi is interactive, period. Allocate resources across multiple channels beyond a fan page and some other social networking spots. I like the previous suggestions about applications, widgets and driving eyeballs to the website for more engaging goodies.

  6. Jamie Tedford from Brand Networks Inc., October 19, 2009 at 10:25 a.m.

    Hey Jared,

    I agree with your statement "While calculating the value of a Facebook fan is not as straightforward, I'll bet you money their worth is at least 10 times that of an email address." In fact, my company is taking a stab at a quantifying the value of a fan in a white paper (lite). Want to collaborate on the framework for that valuation process? Getting to Lifetime value of a fan is THE metric everyone is waiting for. Anyone out there got any ideas to contribute, theories, research, please reach out.

  7. Jennifer Osbon from MegaPlayer, October 20, 2009 at 9:24 a.m.

    Hi Jamie,

    My company has done a good deal of work on quantifying the lifetime value of a user in virtual worlds (think branded community where consumers interact with other consumers in the context of the brand). We looked at it more as a total business case though. We began by considering the cost of driving engagement to the community and factored in the required ongoing investment to maintain engagement over time. Then, we married those costs with the benefits (or value of a single user based on their level of participation) to derive ROI.

    We would be happy to collaborate with you on the framework for quantifying the value of a single fan.

  8. Kristin Thompson from RedShift, October 27, 2009 at 3:07 p.m.

    In the research I have done focusing mostly on non-profits, social media does a great job of supporting brand awareness but it isn't the best way to raise funds. I think the ROI is real but hard to measure. Of course brand awareness leads to future purchases but consumers are not moving directly from a facebook fan page to a purchase. It's ingenious to get into the market now. Social media is a rising star.

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