SEAGRAM'S CAPTAIN MORGAN EXPANDS WITH COCONUT: PARROT BAY JOINS RUM LINE TO TAP INTO POPULARITY OF FLAVORED ALTERNATIVES

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Hoping to grab more of the growing rum category, Seagram Americas next month is going to start pushing a new coconut version of the popular tropical spirit.

Parrot Bay, a brand extension of Seagram's growing Captain Morgan line, will be on shelves next month and will be supported by an outdoor and print ad campaign from Grey Advertising, New York. Outdoor breaks in mid-July; print starts in September.

The Captain Morgan rum family has grown at a torrid pace over the past three years, and Seagram is counting on Parrot Bay to fuel further advances.

'GAINING MARKET SHARE'

"Our goal is to keep gaining market share at the levels we've been gaining," said Pat Tate-O'Connor, rum category manager for Seagram Americas.

The Captain Morgan rums have grown at a rate of 12.6% from 1993 to 1996, and last year moved 1.2 million cases, representing about 10% of the 11.7 million-case rum market, according to figures from Impact Databank.

DISTINCTIVE PACKAGING

Parrot Bay replaces a coconut-flavor rum that had been available in a few markets with minimal success since 1992. Ms. Tate-O'Connor said undistinguished packaging was partly to blame, and the new rum comes in a distinct clear bottle emblazoned with a colorful picture of the Captain Morgan pirate character.

Flavored rums, such as Bacardi Limon and the forthcoming Parrot Bay, have been largely responsible for the growth of rum sales in recent years. Total rum sales have grown 7% since 1994 after a slump earlier, according to Impact.

Ms. Tate-O'Connor said Seagram was spending more on marketing support for its Captain Morgan and Myers rums in 1997 than it did last year. In 1996, measured media dollars fell to $4.8 million, down 14% from 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Although she declined to disclose spending figures, she said Parrot Bay would represent 15% to 20% of the marketing dollars put behind the Captain Morgan family.

BACARDI DOMINATES

Seagram's expenditures trail far behind those of Bacardi-Martini USA, which dominates the rum segment. It controlled 52% of the market in 1996, according to Impact.

Bacardi plans to back its rums with $60 million in advertising and marketing promotions in 1997, double what it spent in 1994, said company Director of Marketing Carlos Peralta.

Advertising, handled by Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, takes up about half that budget for the year.

Last year, Bacardi spent $24.1 million on advertising, up 13% from 1995,

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