Malibu given pre-Christmas push by Allied

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Related tags: Marketing, Advertising, Malibu

Allied Domecq has targeted the UK on-trade as part of a major support programme for its recently acquired Malibu brand.The spirits giant is putting...

Allied Domecq has targeted the UK on-trade as part of a major support programme for its recently acquired Malibu brand.

The spirits giant is putting its weight behind the coconut rum for the first time since it purchased the brand from Diageo in May for £517m.

It is looking to recoup some of this investment by focussing on the UK market where Malibu has so far struggled to replicate its success of the 1980's.

In the run-up to the key Christmas period, when sales of the coconut rum soar by 180 per cent, Allied is investing nearly £3m in a marketing campaign designed to move the brand away from its white stilettos and Essex girl image of yesteryear.

An advertising campaign created under Diageo, which underlines the brand's laid-back Caribbean roots, is to be expanded with an extra advert and is set to make the significant transition from cinema to national TV.

Jeremy Hill, marketing manager for Malibu, said: "There's an opportunity to take a different approach and we're prepared to have a bit of fun and ensure the brand does not take itself too seriously.

"The UK is a focus market and we're committed to supporting the brand. It's worth ten per cent of the brand's global profit and 60 per cent of UK sales go through the on-trade arena."

Malibu is one of a number of brands looking to reinvent itself in a speciality sector that has borne the brunt of the premium packaged spirit (PPS) explosion.

Sales of Malibu are currently declining at two per cent a year while the entire speciality sector is dwindling at six per cent

"The speciality spirit sector is taking a bit of a hammering but we're outperforming the market," added Mr Hill. "At 96 per cent, the brand is really at the top end in terms of distribution but we've got to push rate of sale."

With this in mind, Allied is heavily promoting a Malibu and cranberry combination in an effort to dissociate the brand with its traditional cola connection.

"We've got a mixed volume performance and consumption is currently limited by the way Malibu is drunk," added Mr Hill. "63 per cent of Malibu is drunk with cola, which means people can only have one or two as you're mixing sweet with sweet."

Allied is also unleashing a guerrilla squad of marketeers and samplers into 18 cities across the UK. In conjunction with chosen outlets and pre-empted by a text messaging campaign, the Anti-Seriousness Squad (A.S.S) will be performing street theatre, giving out free drink vouchers and encouraging pub-goers to take life less seriously.

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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