Bacardi has drafted in Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher to become its global brand ambassador for promoting sensible drinking and safe driving.
The seven-time Formula One world champion will feature in a heavyweight advertising campaign to communicate a global “Don’t drink and drive” message for the brand, which will be unveiled next year.
The move echoes Diageo’s move last year when it appointed double Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen as the global responsible drinking ambassador for Johnnie Walker whisky, which was revealed on marketingweek.co.uk late last year. The Finnish racing driver was handed the role to get across the message: “If you drink, don’t drive.”
Bacardi president and chief executive Andreas Gembler says: “Michael is the most famous and successful driver in the world, and we could not ask for a better ambassador. He is hugely respected for his road safety campaigns and we are confident that he will be able to communicate the ‘don’t drink and drive’ message to a huge global audience. We look forward to sharing our plans publicly next year.”
The Bacardi advertising campaign, which begins in January 2008, will not be created by the brand’s global roster agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. The television, print, outdoor and internet campaign is being developed by marketing sports agency 23Red.
Earlier this year, Bacardi axed its global campaign “You In?” less than a year after it was launched by RKCR/Y&R (MW June 7). The campaign was launched last July to signal a shift in strategy for the spirit brand towards increased digital and interactive advertising to target 18- to 24-year-olds globally.