Brand: Bacardi Martini
Client: Vincent Huinck, global marketing and sponsorship manager,
Bacardi Global Brands
Brief: Reconnect the Martini brand with its core European audience of
young male consumers
Target audience: Young male motorsport fans and males and females aged
20 to 35 years old
Media and creative: 23red
Media buying: Universal McCann
Television production, editing, filming and graphic indents: Sunset &
Martini is renowned for some of the most iconic advertising of the past 50 years, but recently the brand has struggled to connect with its core European audience of young male consumers, particularly in a fragmenting media landscape.
23red was given an open brief with the overarching objectives of re-engaging with the brand's key demographic, identifying, evaluating and securing a major brand investment programme; developing an accompanying activation plan and shifting brand perceptions across Martini's target audience.
The agency undertook an intensive "immersion period" with the Martini brand, before developing a brand investment model based both on business and marketing objectives, as well as brand values, audience traits and exploitation potential. The big idea that resulted was to gain ownership of the "lifestyle of motorsport".
The lead investment in this was an advertiser-funded television series, The Martini World Circuit, alongside a website at www.martiniworldcircuit.com.
To support this, as well as help deliver high-quality content to the show and drive brand equity, sponsorship of Scuderia Ferrari, the Ferrari Formula One team, was negotiated. Alongside this, track signage was bought at the "Riviera Grand Prix" (those races based in or near Barcelona, Milan and Monte Carlo).
To complete the main package, and underline Martini's commitment to the responsible drinking message, a major ad campaign was also created.
Activity also included press and ambient advertising, outdoor, on- and off-trade promotions, trade events, media events and internal newsletters. A dedicated library, including lifestyle shots of the Riviera locations and Grand Prix, was developed for PR purposes. Scuderia Ferrari provided access to the team for The Martini World Circuit show, and stories followed drivers and celebrities, capturing the lifestyle around the "world circuit".
- TV: The Martini World Circuit appeared on TV in core markets including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
- Outdoor: Poster ads ran along all arterial routes into five Grand Prix circuits: San Marino, Imola, Spain, Monaco and Great Britain. The four major European Grand Prix's had high-visibility advertising with posters at the circuits at Imola, Barcelona and Monte Carlo and extensive advertising at respective airports, train stations, on taxis and outdoor spaces.
- Print: Double-page spreads in the programmes for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix also ran.
The campaign has successfully re-engaged Martini with its core target audience on a pan-European basis. The Martini World Circuit ran throughout the F1 season with 35 weekly shows. It was broadcast in 41 countries, reaching 53 million European consumers with an estimated airtime value of $10 million. It was also shown as part of the in-flight entertainment on 11 airlines, including Iberia and Alitalia.
Trackside advertising delivered a one-and-a-half times return on investment, and a value of @1 million to @2 million per key European market for PR.
Consumer promotions ran across nine countries and more than ten million packs.
THE VERDICT - Marco Rimini, worldwide head of communications planning, MindShare
Should programme content be at the centre of a marketing campaign like a piece of TV advertising? Or is it just another message-carrying vehicle to add to a long list?
This well-targeted piece of work is in the latter camp, but could have been more. It's a well thought-through association between a brand that still has Cote d' Azur, Riva speedboats and Cary Grant old-world glamour and a sport that has that rare combination of testosterone and style. The glove fits. There is no more glamorous team than Ferrari, no more glamorous Grand Prix than Monte Carlo. The identity plastered all over the trackside, and carefully placed on the car provides raw awareness. The off-track planning and partying adds length and depth to the association.
The programmes themselves are workmanlike rather than thrilling. The personalities of the drivers and hangers-on are identikit professional sportsmen and Wags. rather than Steve McQueen, James Hunt and Grace Kelly. Maybe the real characters of motorsport are back in the factories. Perhaps the engineers and scientists who live out their schoolboy fantasies of building the fastest go-karts in the world on unlimited budgets are the real heroes.
So good strategy, average execution, but why when you go to the Martini websites, even the continental European ones, is there no reference to the association? If the idea behind the content is good enough (what is it, high-performance glamour?), then it should form the backbone of the campaign. If it isn't, then it's just another sponsorship with a programme thrown in.
The TV advertising was effective because the idea behind the execution was powerful and long lasting. It was normally rationalised and codified after the event, but once it was it became the springboard for the brand.
You need a bit more now in the new world, a combination between the cultural content and the cultural architecture to activate it. Let's call that combination Brand IP - the asset from which irrational profits are made and from which marketing justifies its existence.
There's a good idea here that never had a real chance to get out because it was put into the content ghetto, not the idea launch-pad.
Score: 3 out of 5.