A new rum is on the scene in the U.S. and is turning to experiential to rise above the noise in the crowded premium liquor market. Shellback Rum is introducing itself to the world with the interactive Shellback Rum Hut, and is hitting venues and events all over the country with the experience throughout 2013.
The activation space features a boat racing simulation, modeled after the ORACLE Team USA yacht, which will defend the America’s Cup in San Francisco this year, and is sponsored by Shellback. Brand-trained mixologists craft rum cocktails, of course, while consumers share stories about sailing, or other sea-related memories in the video confessional. Those who participate get a chance at a pair of limited edition co-branded Shellback boat shoes by Creative Recreation.
Shellback is targeting markets that over-index on rum consumption and consumers who embody the brand’s modern image, according to Gerard Thoukis, director of spirits at Gallo, which distributes Shellback. The brand is measuring against sampling and pr awareness, in addition to social media buzz. Although the Rum Hut is just one initiative in the brand’s grand plan, Thoukis says he considers it a key part of the strategy ever since it launched at the music festival Austin City Limits in October 2012.
“Our event activation has already generated a wealth of stories, pictures and anecdotes that have begun to find their way into our social media streams, helping consumers share their Shellback brand experience,” Thoukis told Buzz. “We believe that by executing an engaging, interactive, quality experience, we are able to effectively communicate the Shellback story while building consumer affinity and trust. Consumers are willing to become members of our network, social and otherwise, sharing their positive experience and impression of both the Shellback brand and Rum Hut.” Agency: Rebel Industries, Los Angeles.