After years of planning and countless rounds of creative, last November SelvaRey Rum launched a packaging and visual rebrand. Owning the tagline “Tropical luxury, wherever you are,” the Bruno Mars-owned spirit has positioned itself as a slice of paradise quarantined consumers can enjoy during the pandemic. For now, the brand’s marketing is characterized by dreamy images of tropical climes and piña coladas across its social media channels. But when the world reopens to in-person experiences again, the brand intends to lean heavily on experiential—including an emphasis on events and music from Bruno Mars himself. EM sister pub Chief Marketer spoke with SelvaRey’s new CMO Brielle Caruso in November about the importance of experiential moving forward and beyond the pandemic.
CM: How will the launch play out over next year?
Brielle Caruso: We’re doing it in three phases… Phase one is November to January, and that’s all about awareness. Then in January we start our distributor meetings. In August we’re going to announce partnerships with other brands, whether it be a lifestyle brand or a non-alcoholic brand, and that will help us increase awareness and promote consumption. We’ll see more amplification with Bruno. That will be the introduction of our coconut rum, and there will be a big marketing spend behind that because that will take us into the summer months. Then at the end of the year, if COVID does get better, we’re going to culminate with a big event and wrap up the year.
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CM: Talk about how you plan to integrate music into the roll-out.
BC: We want to make sure that Bruno’s music comes into play—and that’s by creating experiences, whether it’s a virtual experience or a live experience. For instance, we’re working on an influencer gifting kit. We want to make it a theatrical experience so that when they open up the box they think, “tropical luxury just hit my house.” Music will be a part of that. Certain musical platforms might help us create a playlist. Or if Bruno is doing an album release, maybe a song will be surrounded by or supported by SelvaRey.
CM: What are the major trends that marketers should be paying attention to right now?
BC: Two things. Social, because everybody’s on it. It’s making sure the cadence and the content of whatever you’re posting is relevant to people and stays on brand. Because once we go back to “normal,” we’re going to see the brands that [consumers] want to stick with and the ones without relevance.
The second thing is experiential. As we were going into lockdown, [people said] that experiential was dead. But it’s not over. It was a beautiful opportunity to rethink it, because experiential is not just events. It’s an experience. It’s touching all of your senses in some way, and that can be virtual as well. Look at what D-Nice did with his parties—and they were open to everyone. We were all forced to learn from this, but what brands are going to come out of this knowing how to do it virtually and knowing how to do it in person—and make sure that they are working together? That is going to be very important.
For the full Q&A with Caruso, read more in Chief Marketer.