Saturday, May 23, 2009


In what is surely one of the most bizarre and aggressive marketing campaigns in the history of advertising, Bacardi® tried to seduce me caveman-style with sheer, brute force. For better or for worse, they definitely got my attention by clubbing me over the head, but I'm not sure they managed to drag me back to their cave to consummate the relationship.

For those who didn't attend the Ghostland Observatory show at the Mezzanine last night, the event was so inundated by Bacardi® propaganda that in retrospect, I can't believe admission wasn't free.

The ad wizards at Bacardi® decided the best method to endear me to their product was to take away my beloved whiskey and microbrews and replace them with [cornfield-like] row after row of fermented sugar cane. My choices were either sobriety or Bud Light® and rum drinks*.

There literally wasn't a drop of bourbon or pale ale in the house, so I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was.

My compensation for suffering this indignity? A plastic baggie filled with metal coins embossed with the rum giant's corporate logo that could be traded for Bacardi® merchandise, such as freshly screen-printed crappy white T-shirts, crappy Bacardi® posters, and cheesy photo-booth pictures which I'm sure were tagged with the nefarious organization's signature markings. Pretty cool, right?

I wonder if Bacardi® also pays the Haitians who cut their sugar cane in the same funny money to be used at the campesino store. Thanks for the 16 hours of hard work, fellas. Now go get yourself a Bacardi® beach towel and a pint of rum to take back to your shanties.

So what are we to take from this experience, other than that supply seems to drive demand when it comes to the industrial food and beverage complex? Has the government started to subsidize sugar cane? Is rum making a Prohibition-like comeback? Are alcoholic monocultures the wave of the future? How much responsibility should The Mezzanine and Ghostland Observatory share in this debacle?

Those questions are probably best answered by somebody smarter than me. All I know is that I probably won't be drinking Bacardi® for a long, long time**.

Nice backfire, marketing guys.

* I opted for a steady diet of mojitos.
** Possibly ever.

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