The brewer is pushing forward with the unusual strategy, whereby the bulk of its media outlay is centred on Ralph-created experiential activity, following strong sales since its March launch. The beer is set to hit the shelves of all the major supermarkets in the coming weeks to back its expanded experiential push.
The plan sees flagship “House of Mask” parties hosted in unique locations such as an abandoned warehouse alongside experience rooms distilling the bigger events to pubs and clubs.
Parties are touring cities including London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow throughout the year, offering fans vibrant experiences inspired by the nightlife of El Vedado, a district of Havana. Each event is shrouded in secrecy with visitors asked to deduce its location from a series of online clues as well hidden directions near the venues.
Guests are handed RFID-enabled keys, which have been 3D printed, allowing them to open designated safe boxes to receive prizes. Key owners can also synch-up to social networks, allowing them to post pictures from branded photo-booths directly to social networks. The keys are also being used to establish the beer’s CRM strategy with key owners being sent exclusive news and invites to upcoming parties and promotions.
Bloggers and Cubanisto influencers such as DJs and street artists are also being used to generate buzz for the parties. Meanwhile, content from the beer’s partnership with publisher Vice will become more prominent moving forward.
A nationwide student union TV campaign is also running to reach the brand’s 18-to-25-year-old target consumers.
Emily Kraftman, senior brand manager for Cubanisto, told Marketing Week the party push stems from a need to drive sampling in a way that will lead to people choosing the brand over others when they are in-stores.
“The skull Cubanisto logo is a great example of trying to do this”, adds Kraftman, “When people go in-store we want them to see the [skull] image and want to grab a bottle due to the experiences they’ve had at a party or from hearing about one.”
The popularity of spirit variants is tipped to help push the wider flavoured-beer category to be worth £400m by 2016, according to alcohol consultants CGA Strategy, with core consumers coming from the 18 to 25 range.
Kraftman adds: “We spent a lot of time making sure that we didn’t just create standard Cubanisto parties. It was one of the reasons why we called them the “House of Mask” events, so that they’re an event that people want to go without even knowing necessarily that it’s a Cubanisto event. It gives us a more credibility in our events rather than having a real shouting brand message.
“As we move forward we’ll be focusing on what our consumers are looking for; whether that’s a 3D printed key or looking at some new innovation to help shape the ‘House of Mask’ experiences, there’s a lot of opportunity for growth from the from the platform we’re building.”