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A battle of the rums has begun, and the media of choice are radio and TV.

Bacardi-Martini USA plans to spend about $2.5 million on radio ads to support three of its rum brands, while competitor Seagram Americas is pitching its Captain Morgan spiced rum on radio and, later this year, will add TV.


"Radio is part of our marketing mix," said Marcus Perez, marketing manager for Bacardi. "We're always trying to pursue the best marketing plans for our brands."

The distiller broke radio spots for its flagship Bacardi rum and Bacardi Limon July 2. The music-themed ads, scheduled to run through the summer, were created by Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York.

The Bacardi spots were slated to run in Long Island, N.Y.; parts of New Jersey; Indianapolis; Detroit; Baltimore; Washington; Cleveland; and Jacksonville, Fla. Bacardi Limon ads broke in California.

The distiller ran radio ads for Bacardi spice rum during May and June in Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego and parts of Florida. Those comic-sketch ads were created by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York.

Bacardi is said to have plans for TV advertising in Canada; Mr. Perez said there were no immediate plans for U.S. TV ads.


Seagram added radio to its heavy arsenal of magazine and outdoor advertising for Captain Morgan spiced rum last month. And, according to one TV/radio rep, the marketer hopes to air Captain Morgan TV spots by yearend. Grey Advertising, New York, handles.

Part of the distillers' enthusiasm for electronic media stems from the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission not to examine distilled spirits advertising on TV and radio (AA, July 14).

A spokesman for Allied Domecq Spirits & Wines, which acknowledged having trouble getting clearances on network TV, cable and radio for its Kahlua Mudslide and on radio for Cutty Sark, said the company was heartened by the FCC vote. "We're hoping we'll get a little more clearance for national TV," he said.

Allied's Hiram Walker unit spent $161,100 on a Cutty Sark radio campaign in first-quarter '97, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

The commercials, created by Scaros & Casselman, Stamford, Conn., supported the brand's Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races promotion.

Spots aired on about 25 radio stations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, said Charles Metzger, brand manager for Cutty Sark.

The distiller plans to return Cutty Sark to radio later this year.


"Hiram Walker has taken the position of being more aggressive in marketing and challenging industry norms," Mr. Metzger said.

Hiram Walker is planning a first-time radio and TV campaign for its low-alcohol Kahlua White Russian later this year.

In other developments, Schieffelin & Somerset Co.'s Tanqueray gin has its ad agency, Deutsch, New York, working on TV commercials, according to an executive close to the distiller. No airdates have been set.

The marketer's Johnnie Walker Black Label brand received about $9,500 in support on spot TV last year, and has received continued exposure on the medium this year.

Schieffelin & Somerset spent $2,600 on the brand on cable TV's SportsChannel Boston and SportsChannel New York during the first quarter, according to CMR.


The commercials were collages from international spots for the brand put together by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Cable's Black Entertainment Television, the first national TV outlet to run liquor ads, aired a $3,300 flight from Seagram Americas for Chivas Regal scotch, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The spots, from TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, ran primarily in late-night programming.

Seagram's Crown Royal, which broke the industry's self-imposed ban on TV advertising in June 1996, is preparing a new TV spot for airing later this year, according to an executive close to the company.

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