Real Fruit effort pitches summer Bacardi parties

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Minute Maid Co. will put increased emphasis on its Bacardi Real Fruit Mixers brand this summer with an extensive radio campaign and its first-ever hot-air balloon tour.

In order to continue double-digit growth for the line of frozen cocktail mixes -- which includes flavors such as Strawberry Daiquiri, Rum Runner and Fuzzy Navel -- Minute Maid significantly increased its advertising and promotional budget for Bacardi Real Fruit Mixers and will reach out to its core young, affluent target during summer holiday weekends beginning with Memorial Day.

"We had a real key insight about a year and a half ago that consumers really want to serve beverages at parties that make things a little more special, an aspirational Caribbean getaway, something other than beer and wine," said Peter Baker, group brand manager for Minute Maid's All-Family Refreshment Team.

`MIX IT UP'

To tap into that insight, Minute Maid hired Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York, last January to develop advertising along the theme, "For friends, for fun, mix it up," a theme created by contracted creative talent for limited radio advertising last summer. The radio effort that launches Memorial Day weekend in 28 markets will be the agency's first work for Bacardi mixers.

The campaign, which will include three executions, presents Bacardi Real Fruit Mixers as a party solution for people who want to serve something that's fun and out of the ordinary.

In "Party Emergency," a host pulls a co-hostess aside at a party to determine what to serve when more guests than expected arrive. Her idea to serve pina coladas made from Bacardi Real Fruit Mixers is a big hit, inspiring guests to comment, "Great idea!" and "You throw the best parties." The spot ends with the tagline, "For friends, for fun, mix it up," and a recommendation that people visit their grocer's freezers to find the product.

90-FOOT DAIQUIRI

The ad effort will be supported by a newly developed 90-foot custom hot-air balloon in the shape of a glass holding a strawberry daiquiri; the balloon will tour major metropolitan areas this summer backed by public relations efforts and radio promotions. Minute Maid will also expand point-of-purchase efforts, including increasing its number of standalone freezer displays to 1,000 retailers this year. Stores that carried the displays last year saw as much as a 600% sales increase, Mr. Baker said. Minute Maid will weigh whether to expand its media mix next year, he added.

Sales of Bacardi mixers grew 17.6% to $46 million for the 52 weeks ended March 26, according to Information Resources Inc. The next largest player in the frozen cocktail mixes category has less than $1 million in sales, and Mr. Baker said competition actually comes from a wider universe of party beverages, including the more typical beer and wine.

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