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Bacardi, one of the world’s most prestigious rum makers, has just linked up with Major Lazer for a groundbreaking collaboration. Major Lazer’s Jillionaire will assume the role of “Minister of Rum”, a vague title that will entail him leading music initiatives and throwing cool parties around the world, including a summer concert series called “The Sound of Rum”. As part of this deal, Bacardi will be releasing a limited-edition Major Lazer bottle of rum. The new rum is the first-ever collaboration for Bacardi in the brand’s 155-year history.

Alcohol endorsements by celebrities aren’t anything new or special, as it seems like every spirit brand is associated with a public figure, especially music artists. Sean “Diddy” Combs and Ciroc is the blueprint for how a partnership should be executed, with Diddy being the reason why the vodka is relevant. However, there are a lot more failed endorsements with “struggle brands” (i.e. 50 Cent and Effen Vodka, Ludacris and Conjure Cognac). Even a big name couldn’t help these companies sell. Music and alcohol go hand in hand, as they both represent celebration, culture, and community. The brand is critical when marketing alcohol because it’s an aspirational product. It’s something you consume to feel like you’re part of a bigger experience. You drink a specific brand because of the perception you have of it. This is why proper endorsements can do so much.

Jillionaire and his Major Lazer mates, Diplo and Walshy Fire, traveled to Bacardi’s distillery in Puerto Rico and had a hand in developing the new rum, which features tasting notes of tropical fruit, cedar, vanilla, and almonds. Add master distillers toMajor Lazer’s resume which is already impressive already. The collaboration makes sense, as the group’s electronic dancehall vibes fit with Bacardi’s Caribbean roots. Maybe they can remix Beanie Man’s “Rum and Redbull“?

Major Lazer

Bacardi has an annual marketing budget of approximately $50 million, so expect some big activations through this partnership with media executions, sponsorships, and of course music events featuring Major Lazer. Check out a short spot featuring the trio talking about their new deal.

 

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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