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Exclusive: Pernod Hoping To Boost Kahlúa On-Premise With Launch Of Kahlúa Midnight

November 12, 2012

Pernod Ricard USA is aiming to revitalize the Kahlúa franchise with a new extension, Kahlúa Midnight, a blend of rum and black coffee liqueur. The new 70-proof entry is currently hitting national distribution, retailing at $23.99 a 750-ml.

Kahlúa Midnight is being positioned for the shot occasion, intended to bring the brand front and center with younger LDA consumers. “Kahlúa has fallen away from being seen as a straight, sweet shot. Consumers don’t necessarily think to call for it since there are so many choices these days,” says Michelle Sanders, Kahlúa’s brand director at Pernod Ricard USA. “We thought it was time to return it to the mainstream and reintroduce it with a new offering. It’s a way to bring the brand back to its former glory in the on-premise.”

Pernod is targeting male consumers age 21-34 with the new variant. The launch will be backed with a significant marketing campaign, entitled “It’s Midnight Somewhere,” a play on the “It’s five o’clock somewhere” line. Budget details weren’t released. The effort will include both above-the-line and below-the-line marketing, sampling and a social media campaign.

Pernod is hoping that Midnight will help bring new consumers into the franchise. “We designed it to help carry the halo over to the base. While it’s certainly very different from a color and typology perspective, we’ve retained some of our core assets,” Sanders says.

Kahlúa’s volume has slipped from nearly 1.5 million cases in 2000 to 985,000 cases last year in the U.S. market, but returned to growth in the early part of this year. Sanders says the brand’s “Delicioso” campaign, which includes a traveling truck for sampling, has been successful in bringing new, younger consumers and could be expanded.

In addition to the core Kahlúa liqueur and the Especial variant, the brand’s flavor extensions include Mocha, Hazelnut and French Vanilla, as well as seasonals Peppermint Mocha and Gingerbread. In recent months Pernod has also introduced Kahlúa Iced Coffee cans—which are 5% abv and retail for $2.50 a 200-ml. can or $9.99 a four-pack—hoping to tap new consumption occasions.


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