Looking to revitalize the Kahlúa franchise, Pernod Ricard USA added a new extension — Kahlúa Midnight — to its product line. This 70 proof mix of rum and black coffee liqueur is intended to be served chilled as a shot that can “transform an otherwise unremarkable night into an unforgettable one.” The brand is targeting male drinkers, 21-34, who are thirsty for new experiences and strive to be constantly connected.
Our challenge was to design a brand launch party for Kahlúa Midnight to kick-start their sales blitz. We identified three primary objectives:
• Capture the new product’s ability to elevate the social experience of a night out with friends
• Tailor an event that would embody the spirit of the midnight hour, a time when a new day is dawning and possibilities seem endless
• Promote Kahlúa Midnight cocktails to showcase liquor versatility to distributor salespeople, casino and hotel beverage directors, and bar and restaurant owners
Who better than Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski to be the brand ambassador of a new twist on a Kahlúa White Russian? Digital invitations announced Kahlúa Midnight’s BIG LEBOWLSKI (see what we did there?) Launch Party to be held at The VIP Bowling Lanes at Red Rock Casino & Spa in Las Vegas. We infused iconic elements from the cult classic film into the name and title treatment to the event collateral ranging from embroidered bathrobes to cocktail napkins which created a look and feel that “really tied the room together.”
“I could tell you how much I loved this event but that’s just, like, my opinion, man.”
Brand awareness was significantly increased and Pernod Ricard USA secured 80 new placements for Kahlúa Midnight within the first month of the event. Plush Creative Agency secured additional brand activations with Pernod Ricard USA including: Absolut Tune, Malibu Red, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Edition Première, Absolut Elyx, and Jameson Whiskey. Taphouse Graphics was hired to provide creative direction and design for each subsequent project.
“The party was designed 100% around Taphouse Graphics’ concepts and designs; from colors of lighting, pipe and drape, furniture, apparel, entertainment, glassware, talent, ice sculptures, bowling balls, giveaways, staffing uniforms— everything…and IT WAS AWESOME.” — Cody Weiss, Vice President of Plush Creative Agency
Brand activations comes in many forms and is delivered through multiple channels. Brand activation that resonates with customers and achieves results calls for strategic planning that starts with “why.” Why will your target audiences care? Why would they engage? Then focus on the “how.”
Whether the objective is to move products off the shelf, sign up new customers or raise support for a cause through donations or fundraising, brand activation is not just about gaining affinity — it’s about inspiring consumers to act. Do you want your consumers to watch a video and then click on an offer, share a selfie with your mascot and hashtag on Instagram, or motivate them to enter a contest that asks them to provide their email address and opt in to brand updates?
By starting with “why” and developing an activation model through a multichannel approach — think social, experiential, digital — you can foster engagement and emotion that creates face-to face engagement with your audience and sells products.
Ultimately, for successful activation, don’t simply look through the lens of one initiative or event. Strategize how, on an ongoing basis, to keep your brand visible, relevant and reflective of the values of your audience to connect emotionally with them and compel them to care enough to push all the right buttons.