Captain Morgan Joins the Race for President

Spirits Mascot Uses Convention Sponsorship to Campaign for Himself

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Coming to a presidential ballot near you: Sen. Obama, Sen. McCain -- and Captain Morgan.
The Captain's economic message calls for five-day weekends, and he's ambivalent about global warming because he wants to 'ensure the party stays hot, hot, hot.'
The Captain's economic message calls for five-day weekends, and he's ambivalent about global warming because he wants to 'ensure the party stays hot, hot, hot.'

Diageo has launched a faux-presidential campaign for its rum-shilling pirate. The alcohol behemoth is the official wine and spirits company of the Republican National Convention and the preferred wine and spirits company of the Democratic National Convention. And so, it is leveraging that sponsorship by having the Captain and his sidekick Morganettes campaign at both sites.

The effort -- which is prominently promoted at a number of branded bars and lounges around the convention sites -- launched with a "Captain Morgan for President" Facebook page and a YouTube video in which Captain Morgan lays out his platform for the presidency. (One of The Captain's Corners is in a media tent, as caught on tape by Ken Wheaton.)

The Captain's economic message calls for five-day weekends, and he's ambivalent about global warming because he wants to "ensure the party stays hot, hot, hot."

Diageo made a splash earlier during the campaign season when Hillary Clinton did shots of its Crown Royal whisky at an Indiana bar in an attempt to burnish her working-class credentials.

Not alone
The Captain, is, of course not alone in pirating attention from the conventions to turn into publicity. Miller High Life, for instance, has its beer deliveryman brand-mascot on a nationwide tour lobbying for drinkers to support his "Common Sense Party" at a succession of sporting events and other venues. That effort -- backed by MillerCoors -- also launched via YouTube and Facebook.

A more risqué tactic came from Kilo Kai rum, marketed by Chicago-based Apostrophe Brands.

The fledgling brand recently secured distribution in Minnesota, and it is planning a guerrilla stunt at the Republican convention that involves putting signs shaped like the sole of a shoe reading "Tap your toe if you're into Kilo Kai rum" on the floor of the site's restrooms. An early version of the ad features the words "U.S. Senate" in barely visible type on the sole.

The stunt is an obvious reference to Republican Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested as part of a police sting operation into lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. He originally pleaded guilty, but later withdrew the plea.
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