Bacardi has launched a new Halloween campaign that pays tribute to horror movie classics. Filmed at a horror production house, the spot was designed to inspire cocktail ideas with a lighthearted scare for Bacardi’s favorite holiday.
Having a bat logo puts Bacardi at an advantage when consumers are planning Halloween festivities.
“Halloween is our biggest occasion,” Laila Mignoni, director of creative excellence at Bacardi told AList. “Every year we do something different for the holiday. We own it.”
This year, the spirits brand tapped into imagery from horror movie favorites like The Ring, The Shining and Psycho with a spot called “The Zombie.” Shot from a first-person POV, the ad tells the story of a mysterious VHS tape, labeled only with the Bacardi bat logo.
As the video begins to play, the imagery gets weird in the style of The Ring—a lemon and lime being sewen together, rum being poured out of upright bottles in reverse, bottles of Bacardi Black and Bacardi Superior appearing in a long hallway a la The Shining, etc. until a zombie appears to have been summoned into the viewer’s world.
“The Zombie” ends with a recipe for a cocktail and the slogan, “Do what moves you.”
Mignoni said they didn’t want the video to be shot like an ad, so they enlisted the help of The Voorhes, a couple that specializes in stylized marketing photography and video.
“[Robin Finlay] and I began by watching a ton of short horror films and thinking about the classics that we all know,” Adam Voorhes recalled on Instagram. “We originally wrote six different scripts that could play off of a cocktail, or stand-alone pieces. [Bacardi] loved The Ring inspired VHS throwback approach, so we flushed out two versions that had abstract weird video vignettes to illustrate each aspect of the cocktail. We took advantage of opportunities to nod to other films, like [Robin] building a mini hallway inspired by The Shining. And I got to play with stop motion, time lapse, slomo video, fun camera chases and lots of practical special effects. I loved this shoot!”
Mignoni, who visited the set, said it was like being in a haunted house. “The production was even a little bit scary,” she said.
Bacardi has timed its new campaign to coincide with online searches. Mignoni explained that Halloween entertaining searches begin in September, and Bacardi will be there to offer content and suggestions.
“We know they’re searching for Halloween drinks that are different [along with] different kinds of food to serve. People love to create. When they’re searching, we want them to think of Bacardi. We want to entertain them, as well. [‘The Zombie’] is scary but it’s lighthearted at the same time.”
The ad will be displayed on social media and across programmatic channels. Shorter cuts will be shared on Facebook and Instagram, Bacardi explained. A few fans that engage with the campaign will receive a gift pack that includes a long version of the creepy video . . . on VHS, of course.
When marketing around Halloween, Mignoni warns against campaigns that are too serious. Instead, offer inspiration and discovery around the holiday.
“Don’t overthink it. Halloween is playful, people are creative and they want to explore ideas,” she said. “They don’t want to be told what to do. Keep it lighthearted. Look at what people are doing [online]. In this case, people search Google for Halloween ideas—some of them are hilarious, like how to scare your friends with drinks. All of that is insightful. We are just listening.”