Wirspa Campaign


The true story of change leading to growth

The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) is a trade association with offices in Barbados and London, whose aim is to represent and promote over 30 Caribbean rum brands located in 15 country locations throughout the Caribbean. When WIRSPA wanted to enhance the long-term competitiveness of Caribbean rum brands, they approached us to create a coordinated marketing communications campaign. The campaign would aim to raise consumer and trade awareness of the provenance of Caribbean Rum through the launch of the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque, in the UK, Spain and Italy. The specific objectives would be to develop and implement a category campaign specifically for the emerging golden rum category which would create recognition, value and meaning for the ACR marque as a symbol of origin and quality for Caribbean Rums.

Capturing True Stories

Integrating the work of several core areas of expertise, we utilised the skills of our strategic planning, PR, advertising, experiential, digital and events teams to reach our core audiences with a unified message conveying the depth of history, honesty and passion behind the production of Caribbean rum.

 Our research indicated that our target markets were united by a 'spirit of discovery' and a desire for authentic products steeped in heritage. Fortunately, there is a depth of history, honesty and passion behind the production of Caribbean rum. 

Our creative theme 'True Rum' was built around real individuals with a connection to Authentic Caribbean Rum and strongly implies that if you’re not drinking Authentic Caribbean Rum, then you’re not drinking the real thing.

 A series of long-copy advertising executions were used to tell the story of True Rum and educate both the trade and consumer audiences. These were followed by a series of testimonial/portrait advertising executions, to deliver the emotive element of the campaign.


Coordinating Discovery

In a highly integrated campaign we launched trade and consumer advertising, trade and consumer relations, online, retailer promotions, experiential and events, as well as extensive bar tender training and consumer sampling activity.
It was designed deliberately to allow the target audience discover True Rum for themselves as the campaign was rolled out across the UK, Spain and Italy.
As the showpiece of the experiential strategy, a permanent, interactive and educational ‘True Rum Experience’ was created at Vinopolis in London. A UK-wide campaign of events and sampling activity was rolled-out for both the trade and consumers, to trial and experience rum cocktails and mixers. The equivalent experiential activity was also rolled-out in Spain and Italy.

The Result?

As a direct result of our integrated True Rum campaign, sales of ACR brands grew 2.5% in and the golden rum category was up 19%, in contrast to the rum category as a whole which contracted by 1.3%, according to Nielsen data. Within the UK trade, ACR marque rum producers obtained new distribution for 10 new brands and 18 SKUs.
Tracking research showed ad recognition of over 10%, with the creative well appreciated and delivering the desired brand and strategic messages. The campaign obtained advertising media coverage in the UK at 63% of target audience @ 7 OTS versus a target of 47% and 5 OTS.
Here's what Neil Morris, Marketing Manager for the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) had to say:
“The aim of the True Rum campaign was to bring real Caribbean heritage to life in an emotive and aspirational way. The images and style that have been developed incorporate a character and integrity that is unmistakeably Caribbean. We wanted to link rum’s past to present, representing both its rich heritage and its place in contemporary life. It is a simple, distinctive and memorable concept…with a really powerful impact across all media and marketing applications.”

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