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August 13, 2008, 5:34 am
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Bacardi There’s a reason it looks like a coffin

So Bacardi are putting their global business up for pitch again.

What a surprise.

This is a brand who’s had more partners than Lindsey Lohan … and whilst you could say this indicates adlands continual failure to fullfil the needs a progressive thinking client, for once, that’s just not the case.

Infact, it’ would be fairer to say Bacardi has continually failed to fulfil the needs of adland because they go into relationships with a totally closed mind – refusing to listen to any fresh ideas, regardless of how beneficial they could be to their business.

The fact is they don’t care their category is full-to-the-brim with identical offerings, communicating in identical ways – they can use their distribution strength to counter that – they just want an agency so their fixed ideas can be produced, which is why as soon as there’s someone else who’ll do it for cheaper, they’re off.

Hell, listen to the reason they’ve given for putting the business up for pitch …

“We are reviewing our international communication in light of changing consumer patterns.

This is not any reflection of how we valued the agency’s work on the account.”

What the hell does that mean? It’s political mumbo-jumbo.

Sadly, despite adland knowing Bacardi ‘commitmentphobe’ tendencies, they still chase the business like flies around shit because [1] they probably think it’ll be different for them [2] they think it has to be better than working on Johnson&Johnson or whichever ‘energy vampire’ client they have on their roster [3] the brand spends bucketload of cash.

Of course, because the winning agency will have had to drop its drawers to secure the business, the only way it can make any money on the account is to put less resources behind it … which means a bunch of poor kids are going to be overworked and underpaid as they answer each and every stupid demand of the client – safe in the knowledge that whatever they do will never be good enough and the account is going to leave in a matter of time anyway.

The best work comes from the best relationships, it’s as simple as that … so if Bacardi continue to judge their agencies on how much [or little] another network would charge them, then they only have themselves to blame as they become more irrelevant and/or downmarket.

18 Comments so far
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congratulations campbell you made me laugh and not at your antics or fucking planning twaddle, but because you wrote something funny and i think you actually fucking meant to do it.

“theres a reason it looks like a coffin” fucking well done man you summed up what working on bacardi is in 8 little words. thats impressive on 2 counts because it finally shows some fucking insight and you can sometimes express it without approaching everything like a fucking lawyer who has to talk about his journey of pros and cons to the decision. thank fuck for that, more of that for everyone please.

advertising isnt a fucking service industry its an active advisory but with too many companies chasing the dollar not the answer theyve cleverly repositioned the whole fucking industry to be valued less financially and professionally. great fucking move that, very clever and who is the best example of service industry? whores. i rest my fucking case.

Comment by andy@cynic

Great post Robert, Bacardi are fast developing a reputation as the uncle family members don’t want their children to hang around with for too long.

I’m not sure if the best work only comes from the best client/agency relationships but the consistently best work certainly does though theres always that risk of slipping into comfort factor unless new elements are introduced along the way.

As I said great post but I don’t think you’ll be working on a Bacardi brand for a while 🙂

Comment by Pete

Changing consumer patterns presumably being Bacardi-speak for collapsing sales.

Comment by John.

Well said Rob. Truth well told. The promiscuous behaviour of Bacardi makes Robbie Williams look like a monk. Not quite sure where it leaves Andy 😉

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I think Fred’s reaction shows he has also been someone who has been mentally violated by Bacardi


Comment by Rob

My image of Bacardi has always been shaped by just one quote that overruled any advertising campaign they ever had and that’s Danny Dyer in ‘Severance’ saying ‘British birds are easy, just give’em a Bacardi Breezer and they’ll ride you like Seabiscuit.’ And with that he actually expressed one f… big consumer truth.

Comment by Andrea

“Sadly, despite adland knowing Bacardi ‘commitmentphobe’ tendencies, they still chase the business like flies around shit because [1] they probably think it’ll be different for them [2] they think it has to be better than working on Johnson&Johnson [3] the brand spends bucketload of cash.”

1) Agency management, due to their rapid changeover/churn, all believe it’ll be different. 2) It certainly will be (I used to work on it). 3) Here’s hoping.


Great post mate. Of course, fostering great relationships does seem to get harder the more markets that get involved.

Comment by Will

Hello Andrea – how the hell are you? Been too long but you come back blazing with the sort of comment that makes us love you.

Bacardi Breezer: Turns You From Arm Pit To Brad Pitt In 3 Sugary Gulps.

And Will – excellent additional points, all sadly bloody accurate 🙂

Comment by Rob

The funny thing is, the consumer will not spot this difference.

Comment by Marcus

I’m quite alright, been busy with a load of family issues that have to be complicated before they’re easy (tend to believe there’s never an easy way)! Everything ok with you? (Not expecting a ‘nothing was ever ok’ answer)

Comment by Andrea

Andrea’s initial reaction suddenly clarifies your your recent Nottingham expedition.

Comment by John.

Isn’t working on Bacardi pretty easy?

To the client:
“Of course we will consider the roots of Bacardi and the image and lifestyle. And you know what, we’d like to stick to that brilliant music theme you always use and transform it into a absolutely hip and trendy lifestyle while respecting you’re target group focus. And as you being our top-notch client our Creative Director is already working on it. Personally.”

To some intern:
“Make sure there will be palm trees in the script. Lots of palms, you know, make it a palm forest. And don’t forget that beach. Yeah, white. White is good it fits the label. No fat and ugly alcoholics as cast. Do something with the usual tanned, six-packed boys and girls with the big titties. Yeah. And get that really cheap reggae band that will give that crappy tune they use for 20 years this Caribbean feel, you know. And don’t work too much on it, gotta crack that Johnson&Johnson brief laters.”

Comment by Seb

i don’t actually give a fuck what they do and i’d quite like to leave it that way 🙂

Comment by lauren

Some Latina influenced dance music? Check.

Some hot tanned Latina chicks dancing in short dresses? Check.

Some hot guys with shirts open to the cock covered in sweat but not looking exhausted? Check.

DJ grooving to his tunes with one ear on his oversized headphones? Check.

Close up on one of the hot chicks and one of the hot guys? Check.

Massive pack shot with contrived super saying something about Bacardi “mixing it up”. Check.

Their new global television ad is ready to go so do you want me to call them up or will you do it?

Fuck the creative integrity I get to cast hot chicks.

Comment by Billy Whizz

May I introduce to you Billy, our Chief Creative Integrity Toad (CCIT). What could stand for Cocks, Cunts, Ice and Thongs. Which would be a pretty neat summary of Bacardi’s brand heritage.
Consider me co-host of your casting, Billy.

Comment by Seb

You’re going to be in shit when Rob sees you’ve used the C word Seb but that makes our bond against the evil prince (Andy is King) stronger than blood. Consider yourself in.

Comment by Billy Whizz

having fun with your little friend billy? thats so nice and sweet but youre not fucking paid to make friends or post blog comments so pack it in and get on with your fucking work. yes i know campbell does the same shit but at least he started the fucking company though thats no fucking excuse but were dealing with that. oh yes were dealing with that very soon 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

So you don’t have any work to do, Andy?
Business as usual, I see.

Comment by Seb

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