He lived his life to the fullest and left behind a legacy unrivaled in blustery lore. Now Captain Morgan is back, and bigger than ever as Diageo re-imagines his adventures plundering and privateering his way across the Caribbean.
The National Rum Examiner had the opportunity recently to engage in conversation with Tom Herbst, Brand Director for Captain Morgan USA. Here’s the latest scoop on new developments of how Captain Morgan has been re-invigorated and re-aligned as a symbol that rum is fun.
Rum Examiner: The Captain is clearly the most colorful iconic character in the rum category and this new campaign appears to push the envelope further to cast this spirit as a choice for fun loving enthusiasts. Is Diageo making a long term commitment to this high visibility position for the Captain?
The Captain has always been core to our communication and we will continue to celebrate his unique personality. The style, spirit and mystique of Captain Morgan appeals to fans, even after 375-plus years. However, our consumers are continually evolving and expanding their interests, so we recognized that Captain Morgan himself needed to evolve with them. The Captain is truly multi-dimensional, and we felt it was time for everyone to see a new side of him.
Our latest advertising campaign “To Life, Love and Loot” depicts a re-imagined history of real-life legendary privateer and rum brand icon, Captain Henry Morgan. He was a real man – with a real ship and a real crew – who personified a combination of charm, wit, intelligence, charisma, courage and good old-fashioned street smarts.
To help us create the new campaign, we enlisted the help of Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper who is world-renowned for his riveting period pieces and attention to historic details, which are just a couple of the reasons we wanted to work with him.
As it relates to the Captain taking center stage in our advertising efforts moving forward, if our consumers react to the spots positively – like we’re thinking they will – I’m sure they’ll being seeing a lot more of the Captain.
In the short term, the first spot in “To Life, Love and Loot” entitled, “DIVE,” will air in early June and we currently have two more commercials, “RIDE HOME” – our responsible drinking spot – and “GLASS,” in post-production.
Rum Examiner: Will this be a world-wide multimedia campaign, or largely an American marketing effort?
The campaign will air exclusively in the United States with the first commercial spot, a 60-second feature film production entitled, “DIVE,” debuting on broadcast television in early June.
We took a pretty non-traditional route to debut the first spot by doing a YouTube homepage takeover on Saturday, May 14th, giving our fans the first glimpse at the new campaign weeks before airs on television.
You’ll see the “To Life, Love and Loot” spots throughout the summer during major sporting events and top-tier entertainment programs.
Rum Examiner: How does the new distillery and facilities in St. Croix figure into the forward movement of the brand?
Captain Morgan is currently the number two rum brand in the world and is continuing to experience growth despite the economic downturn. Our goal is to become the number one rum brand in the world by 2015, and a new distillery that can produce the high quality spiced rum consumers have come to expect from the brand, at an unprecedented rate, is an integral part of that plan. The first rum shipment from St. Croix is slated for early 2012, underscoring how confident we are in the future of the brand and the rum category as a whole.
Rum Examiner: The Captain is inviting fans to participate in a photo shoot program featuring the lifting of the left leg in the Captain’s classic stance. How does this effort tie into your program to encourage responsible drinking? Is there a goal set for this success and is it tied into a donation for this worthy cause?
Encouraging responsible drinking is always top of mind for the Captain Morgan brand, which is one of the reasons we launched the “One Million Poses” campaign. In November, we called on our fans to upload photos of their iconic Captain Morgan pose to our Captain Morgan USA Facebook page. For every Pose collected, we donate $1 to the First Mate Fund, which was developed to support responsible drinking initiatives, as well as other community organizations. Our goal for the campaign is to inspire one million fans to strike the Captain’s Pose and subsequently contribute one million dollars to charity.
Since November, Captain Morgan has collected hundreds of thousands of Poses, and to date, has given nearly $500,000 to deserving non-profit organizations – including Designated Drivers, Inc., Feeding America Tampa Bay and Gridiron Greats, just to name a few – so we’re well on our way!
In addition to One Million Poses, our new “To Life, Love and Loot” campaign also features a dedicated responsible drinking ad entitled “RIDE HOME,” and all of our new spots include our updated responsible drinking message, which is reflective of the new campaign. Moving forward, you’ll see “Raise your Glass. Always in Moderation.”
Rum Examiner: If Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is the opposite of vodka, do you believe the appreciation of these great tropical flavors of the Caribbean in lively libations can give consumers good reason to move from bland spirits to much more exciting choices?
The Captain believes in celebrating good times, and what is better to do that with than a delicious spiced rum cocktail? We’ve always challenged our fans to live life to the fullest, just like Captain Henry Morgan himself did, and a tasteless odorless spirit just doesn’t fit the bill. The unique Caribbean flavors of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum are not only highly palatable, but aren’t as challenging to appreciate as other spirits. They compliment so many different tastes, making Original Spiced Rum a great choice for a wide range of cocktails. While some prefer a simple Captain and Cola, others prefer to kick their drink selection up a notch with a Captain mojito—the possibilities are pretty endless!
Additionally, we recognized an opportunity to introduce a new flavor into the rum category, and recently launched Lime Bite, a silver, lime-spiked spiced rum that is specially formulated to taste great with beer or lemon-lime soda. We’ve also built upon the popularity of the classic Long Island Iced Tea cocktail, releasing a Captain Morgan ready-to-pour Long Island Iced Tea variant. It’s a mix of five spirits; rum, vodka, whiskey, gin and triple-sec liqueur, that can simply be poured over ice and enjoyed.
Robert A. Burr is the National Rum Examiner. He also publishes the Gifted Rums Guide, hosts the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival and Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise in addition to organizing the International Rum Expert Panel.