Havana Club: Nothing Compares to Havana
Client: Havana Club International
Brand: Havana Club
Havana Club is a rum brand produced in Cuba and sold in over 125 countries…. excluding the USA (40% of the market) because of the embargo. Its main competitor is the behemoth Bacardi (38% global market share excluding homeland markets), selling 3 times more cases every year with a global communication budget 10 times bigger.
In 2009, Havana Club International set a clear ambition: let's not try to become the second-best mainstream brand. Instead, aim at becoming an iconic premium brand, sold at a premium price. This was the brief to develop the new campaign, to be used in over 30 countries in the world.
- Reach 3.9 million cases sold globally in the 2011-12 fiscal year
- Increase volume and value market shares in all markets against Bacardi
- Become a "hot brand" (increase advocates & friends among consumers, become a reference for bartenders)
- Improve the brand consumer funnel (awareness, consideration, usage) against Bacardi
- Improve brand image
- Be talked about: PR coverage
"Urban Cultural Explorers", both premium spirit drinkers and opinion leaders.
Being the only international Cuban brand, the agency decided to make Havana Club a "Cultural Brand": the icon of the rich, vibrant and non-aligned Cuban culture.
Cuban Culture became a competitive advantage:
- Positioning Havana Club as the Genuine Cuban Brand against the vaguely-Latin Bacardi
- Positioning Havana Club as a Non-Aligned Cuban brand against Bacardi, the embodiment of globalisation and of the marketing establishment
- Using Cuban culture and values to engage with the priority target, leaving Bacardi to the mainstream consumers
A programme was defined for the brand: to make people experience the incomparable human and artistic culture from contemporary Havana. What we call HAVANIZACION.
#1 – "Havana Cultura": a program dedicated to promoting contemporary Cuban artists. Two ambassadors were hired to legitimate the initiative and raise its awareness: famous BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, who produced numerous Havana Cultura albums and concerts and Flora Fairbain, an art curator who set up in 2010 the Havana Cultura Visual Art Project.
#2 – "Nothing Compares to Havana": a new integrated brand campaign promoting Cuban culture and values, shot in Havana and featuring genuine Cuban people.
#3 – "7 Days in Havana": a feature-length movie co-produced by Havana Club, in which 7 famous directors tell their story about Havana City. Released in June, the movie has been sold in 26 countries and was selected at the prestigious 2012 Cannes and San Sebastian Film Festivals.
Television 24% | Branded Content 5% | Interactive/Online 6% | Digital 3% | Trade Magazine 1% | Consumer Magazine 38% | Point of Sale 1% | Other 22%
€10 million to under €20 million
Belgium | France | Germany | Greece | Italy | United Kingdom
Evidence of results
Whatever the local market situations, Havana Club improved its market share, sales, and brand image against Bacardi. It even became leader in the big and booming rum market of Germany. Brand Equity data show that Havana Club became more appreciated, recommended and consumed. This campaign made the brand more authentic, and this Cuban authenticity directly translated in perceived quality and originality that led to more recommendations. In the Drinks International Magazine 2012 yearly report, Havana Club was ranked #1 Hot Rum Brand for the first time, and even better, became the #1 brand in the Bartenders Top 10 for all spirits brands, beating iconic brands such as Absolut and Jack Daniel's. This is the demonstration that culture can turn brands into icons, generate value and ROI.