Mount Gay is made with a rhythm and style that hasn’t changed in 310 years” according to Erin Newby, head of strategy at Radical Media, the brand’s agency charged with its repositioning. Sir John Gay introduced the rum in Barbados in 1703 (B.C.), that’s before cola, or even ice. So the liquor had to stand on its own merits rather than being part of a mixed cocktail.

Newby appeared on a Creative Week panel along with Mount Gay’s global brand director and others from Radical Media’s team on Tuesday in New York to discuss the repositioning strategy and launch of its Black Barrel product. The multimedia effort included new graphics, print ads, video and redesigned website that brought the brand’s history to life. Their brand ambassador program is now spreading the word about Black Barrel.

Strategic evolution: Mount Gay’s earlier print ads featured product shots with the tagline “the rum that invented rum”. The agency tapped further into the brand’s history as the world’s oldest rum, which became a natural strategy, Newby said. The new line, “There’s a time and a place” captures the brand’s provenance and its slow double distillation process in copper stills. Mount Gay’s M.O. is “rum is ready when it’s ready, not before.”

Competition: “Everyone else focuses on flash and beach scenes”, said Justin Wilkes, Radical’s president of media and entertainment. Their biggest competitors include Bacardi and Captain Morgan. Added Fannie Young, Mount Gay’s global brand director. ”We wanted to position the brand in a more premium space.”

Read more