Bacardi acquires 42 Below vodka as Grey Goose campaign takes off

Bacardi is to pay $91m (48.7) for cult New Zealand vodka brand, 42 Below. The announcement comes as the spirits giant launches its first ever UK above the line campaign for Grey Goose, the premium vodka it already owns.

42 Below was launched by Geoff Ross, a former director of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, who has been responsible for all creative work from the company himself.

The brand has a history of deliberately courting controversy with its marketing: a year ago, it launched a viral advertising campaign in the UK which poked fun at the British and British culture (pictured). A Monty Python-style montage of famous British activities and faces was accompanied with a disparaging voiceover including comments about Britain “inventing cricket for the Aussies, rugby for the Kiwis, football for the Brazilians and Robbie Williams for the gays”.

A previous 42 Below viral for the US market, targeting gay consumers, triggered threats of a boycott.

The new ad campaign for Grey Goose consists of a series of advertorials featuring high-profile names from the style world, including chef Tom Aikens, designer Hassan Abdullah, photographer Lorenzo Agius, designer Roland Mouret and cocktail “mixologist” Laurent Greco. The ads will appear in the October editions of Harpers, GQ, Another Man, ID and Esquire magazines.

The advertorials were designed by Universal McCann and Purple PR.