Rum category sales peak in the summer season, something that’s especially true for a brand like Malibu with its lineup of flavored rums. The majority of the brand’s promotions and activations occur during the summer, and this year those are centered around the “101 Days of Because Summer” campaign.
I recently spoke to Malibu Brand Director, Daniel Clarke, about that campaign and the overall state of the rum category.
Beverage Wholesaler: What do you have on tap for the rest of the summer?
Daniel Clarke: Fans can once again celebrate at the Malibu Rum Beach HOuse at eight music festivals nationwide. The beach house is a custom-built pop-up that features a large viewing space and patio, along with cocktails and exclusive brand experiences. Our Snapchat code will be accessible at the beach house all summer, and whenever a consumer scans the code they’ll uncover exclusive content. Festival-goers can also join the fun with our signature geo-filters at the upcoming Route 91 Festival. In the next few weeks, we’ll be offering a sweepstakes for fans to enter a chance to win two VIP tickets to the festival. And next month, we’ll release a Black Moon filter on Snapchat to celebrate the solar eclipse, so fans can enjoy sunset cocktails twice in one day.
BW: What other on- and off-premise activations do you have planned for the rest of the year?
DC: For the off-premise, we’re highlighting case cards and pole toppers for cash back, along with a partnership with Dole for cash back on pineapple juice cans, plus additional savings when purchased together. For on-premise, we have posters and table tents for a delicious spectrum of cocktails, including the Malibu Bay Breeze and Malibu & Pineapple.
BW: What consumer trends are most impacting Malibu’s sales right now?
DC: We’re pleased to see growth in the flavored rum segment, where Malibu represents nearly 50% of sales. One of the biggest current cocktail trends is the resurgence of coconut. We’re seeing increased interest in unique cocktail recipes, which has driven our sales growth. Consumers are also looking for cocktails appealing to the eye, with unique tastes that are easy to prepare. Malibu is capitalizing on those trends by creating on-trend seasonal fruits and flavors, like the Pink Domingo:
1 part Malibu
1 part Absolut Lime
3/4 parts Liber and Co. Firey Ginger syrup
1 part Lime juice
4 parts Fresh watermelon wedges
4-6 Mint leaves
Muddle watermelon and shake all ingredients. Strain over fresh ice and top with soda. Garnish with mint leaves and microplaned lime zest.
BW: What’s the biggest opportunity for the brand right now?
DC: The tiki resurgence has greatly benefited the brand, as the key components of classic tiki drinks contain fresh fruit, blended fruit juice and bitters. Our 101 Days of Because Summer activations, such as the beach house, spotlight authentic tiki/island decor that help inspire consumers and resonate among our “Young Fun Starter” target audience.
BW: What’s the biggest challenge for the brand?
DC: There’s been a shift in consumer behavior leading to an increased demand for back-to-basics flavors within the rum category. Based on Malibu’s focus on core flavors, we see ourselves as a contender for shelf space, competing against other flavored spirits and limited edition flavor categories.
BW: Any innovations on the horizon?
DC: We’ve seen that modern and strategically designed packaging has increased purchase behavior among consumers. Within the next year, consumers will see redesigned packaging across the Malibu portfolio.