Pick-Up Lines and Pick Up Bacardi Silver

When John Ellett, owner of local advertising agency nFusion, speaks in front of college groups, it’s an Anheuser-Busch account that gets the most attention. Using interactive marketing, nFusion created a Bacardi Silver brand campaign, The Pick-Up Hall of Shame. The interactive campaign launched in January 2007 and is still running and pulling in viewers.

Yes, you have to be 21 to enter the website featuring all the flavors of Bacardi Silver. So, many of those college students have only heard of, not sampled the brand. After skimming through the over 1500 entries made by site visitors, the real list of Pick-Up Lines is surprisingly small. My favorite line was:

I wish I was a tear, that way I’d be born in your eye, live on your cheek, and die on your lips.

Many of the pick-up lines referenced advertising slogans:

  • I’m wearing Revlon Colorstay lipstick. Want to help me test the claim it won’t kiss off?
  • I must be McDonald’s, because I love to see you smile.
  • You must’ve had Frosted Flakes because you bring out the Tiger in me.
  • Is your name Gillette? Because you’re the best a man can get.
  • Your body’s name must be Visa, because it’s everywhere I want to be.

When I studied advertising at SyracuseUniversity, I chose a Bacardi ad for a critical analysis assignment. Through that exercise, I learned my first rule of advertising: Men like to look at women in ads. Women like to look at women in ads.

Bacardi often sells the social aspect of its product. So it was natural to continue the “fun feature” of the branding in nFusion’s campaign. The “Worse Pick-Up Line” feature is very viral. Of the viewers that “stick”, 82 percent of them will share the campaign with their community, add or rate the lines. That is an outstanding metric which shows the conversion of lookers to doers. The viewers spread the campaign through social bookmarking, adding it to their MySpace pages, or by forwarding it to their friends.

While we can’t trace actual sales that result from the Pick-Up Line feature, the Anheuser-Busch executives approve of it enough to let it to run for two years. In interactive marketing, that’s like dog years. I like how nFusion runs the flavor buttons at the bottom of the screen with a new flavor tag for the latest version of Bacardi Silver. The new flavor tag refreshes the content.

Bacardi Silver’s interactive marketing accomplishes the goals of stickiness and engagement with its target demographic. It also has a timeless quality — the pick-up line, “You must be wearing spacepants, because you’re out of the world,” could have come out of the David Bowie disco days of the 70s. There’s no other explanation for such a bad pick-up line. Why do you think this campaign works?


About the Author

Brenda Hessney

Brenda Hessney

Brenda Hessney is a successful Austin marketing specialist with a knack for quickly analyzing, planning, and implementing effective, cost efficient sales campaigns.

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