R & B Singer Ne-Yo Signs a Deal to Help Sluggish Brand and Be the ‘Face’ on the New Mix
In an attempt to get consumers, bartenders and the rest of the industry thinking ‘flavored’ tequila rather than flavored vodka, Malibu Rum has announced plans to unveil Malibu Red, a blend of the coconut rum with fiery silver ‘tequila’ to create another line extension.
Apparently Pernod Ricard are betting big with Malibu Red and going ‘all in’ with Ne-Yo the “chart-topping R & B singer and songwriter, film and television actor” and have committed what they are calling one of the brand’s largest global marketing initiatives – featuring TV, print, online and Billboard advertising, digital and exclusive multi-media content, public relations, events, on- and off-premise sampling, point-of-sale merchandise and more.
“Malibu Red is not just another celebrity-endorsed product,” Ian Crystal, Global Marketing Director, Malibu, said in a press release. “Turning the term partnership on its head, Ne-Yo has really served as the Creative Director of Malibu Red from beginning to end – lending his ‘smooth’ talents and creative vision to create a product experience — from flavor to film — that will push boundaries in the spirits category.”
It may be motivated by the fact that Malibu as a brand has been sluggish since Diageo sold the brand for $800 million in 2002. Pernod Ricard bought the brand as a part of the $14 Billion purchase of Allied-Domecq brands in 2005.
“The brand’s been struggling to connect with the consumer in the U.S. for a number of years,” said Simon Hales, a brand and financial analyst at Barclays Capital in London. Global sales of Malibu, a coconut-flavored rum, have been growing more slowly than Pernod’s top 14 brands as a whole, which also include Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal whisky. “Brand innovation is clearly what U.S. consumers are demanding at the moment,” said Hales.
Malibu Red will be stronger in taste than their flagship brand or it other flavored varieties. Like their Malibu Black Rum that was released in 2011, Malibu Red will be 70 proof but this will be the first infusion with tequila. The press indicates that it will be ‘fiery silver tequila’ and that it will be offered in a silver and red bottle that will “remain loyal to its hero product, with a sophisticated, premium look – designed in conjunction with “The Gentleman” himself. (Ne-Yo)
Malibu Red is set to launch in March 2012, and Malibu and Ne-Yo recently completed a commercial shoot in Spain that will provide videos and short films to behind-the-scenes images of the creation of the brand. Ne-Yo’s creative interpretation of the product will continue through to his music it seems. Malibu Red will also be sponsoring Ne-Yo’s concert tour in 2012.