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Impact Seminar Snapshot: Bacardi’s Robert Furniss-Roe On The Millennial Generation

March 24, 2014

Slated to be the single largest generation in history, Millennials represent perhaps the most sought-after demographic for drinks marketers. At last week’s Impact Marketing Seminar, Bacardi North America president Robert Furniss-Roe discussed the challenges unique to courting the Millennial generation, by far the nation’s most diverse, forward-thinking and tech-savvy age group.

“Every generation thinks that it’s going to reinvent the world, but things have fundamentally changed with the Millennial generation,” said Furniss-Roe, noting that the group is unusually accustomed to change and extremely social, both on- and off-line. Additionally, he observed, the demographic is defined by its optimistic outlook and affinity for music and pop culture. “This generation is looking for substance and content. They need someone to deal with them in a way that keeps them entertained, but also stays true to the core of who they are.”

Consequently, Bacardi has adapted its marketing approach to better capture the attention of Millennial audiences, drawing inspiration from techniques employed by Hollywood. Rich storytelling and the ability to surprise are key to making a lasting impression, explained Furniss-Roe, citing the company’s recent Bacardi rum and Dewar’s Scotch television campaigns as indicative of its approach. Aesthetic principles such as good staging and beauty are also important, as are partnerships with cultural influencers like Jay-Z, who partnered with Bacardi to launch D’ussé Cognac in 2012.

“Hollywood surrounds their consumers with impressive experiences,” said Furniss-Roe. “The first, most important rule is to tell a good story, and we as a company have great stories to tell.”

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