Bacardi Carta Blanca names new frontman

The Italian actor Raoul Bova has replaced Vinnie Jones as the smooth Latin star in the newest Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum ad campaign.

The campaign is the first work from McCann Erickson for the brand since Jones was axed as the face of Bacardi in October.

Benicio Del Toro, the star of The Usual Suspects and 21 Grams, was expected to replace him. However, the drinks brand has opted for the lesser-known Bova, the star of Under the Tuscan Sun.

The new ad will run nationwide. The media schedule, bought and planned by Universal McCann, includes a slot during the first episode of Big Brother Five, when it launches this Friday.

The 50-second spot is a continuation of the long-running "Welcome to the Latin Quarter" theme, now in its seventh series. In the ad, entitled "platform", Bova, a drinks waiter, and a coach-load of party animals have all missed the last train.

The Latin-style music associated with the ads starts up as Bova spots the Bacardi Carta Blanca in the waiter's trolley and starts making drinks for everyone. A platform party ensues.

Luke White, the creative director of McCann Erickson, said: "The Latin Quarter is all about that moment when things spontaneously come together. Raoul Bova's character is our guide to the Latin Quarter, he's the guy who mixes up all the elements to make the party happen."

John Burke, the marketing controller at Bacardi, said: "We are delighted with the advertising. Increasing ad awareness continues to contribute to strong sales growth."

The ad was written by Rick Chant, art directed by Barney Hobson and directed by Howard Greenhalgh of Exposure Films.

The ad will be supported by 20- and ten-second versions and through-the-line activity, which includes mega posters, point of sale, on trade, off-trade, radio, exhibitions and the internet.

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