A Toast More Than a Century in the Making: ¡Cuba Libre!

Javelin knows what it takes to make a brand come alive, even if the brand is 150 years old. On May 20, 2013, with help from Rolling Stone magazine, Javelin brought the sights, sounds and taste of Cuban independence to life during a BACARDÍ® Rebels event at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.

In August 1900, while celebrating victory following the end of the Cuban War for Independence, off-duty American soldiers in Havana ordered a beverage that combined the best of both cultures: premium Cuban BACARDÍ rum, Coca-Cola® and fresh lime. The Captain proposed a toast, “¡Por Cuba libre!” in celebration of a free Cuba. The cocktail quickly became synonymous with freedom, and continues to be the natural cocktail choice for rebellious spirits today.

In celebration of BACARDÍ’s Cuban roots and as part of the “Vivimos” (We Live) integrated marketing campaign, Javelin helped recreate elements of the brand’s authentic history by turning the Roseland Ballroom into an experience of Old Havana, complete with a street scene featuring an iconic 1955 Chevy Bel Air, and an authentic cigar rolling station.

“A brand like BACARDÍ must be experienced to be enjoyed,” said Donna Meier, Co-Founder and Sr. Partner at Javelin. “This iconic event was designed to make the brand come alive through an authentic Cuban experience. We wanted revelers to feel as if they were participating in a continuation of the very celebration that occurred more than 100 years ago in Cuba and generate a sense of pride in being a pioneer and supporter of freedom in all its forms.”

Experiential stations were situated around the room in traditional street-vendor style, including specialty drink stands featuring the Cuba Libre, the original Daiquiri, which was also created in Cuba using BACARDÍ rum, and the Mojito, improved in 1862 when BACARDÍ light rum replaced the traditional harsh-tasting aguardiente as the main ingredient. A create-your-own T-shirt stand was made more authentic with the addition of professional seamstresses who sewed vintage BACARDÍ logos onto the shirts on-site.

The most prominent salute to BACARDÍ’s rebellious spirit was the Rebel Room, dedicated to iconic pioneers in music, pop culture, history and rum-making. The display paid homage to individuals like BACARDÍ rum’s founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, a pioneer in rum-making, and Emilio Bacardi, a key player in Cuba’s fight for independence. Elements of the deep heritage and history of BACARDÍ rum were showcased together with other engaging pieces of the brand’s Cuban provenance.

“Working with BACARDÍ and Rolling Stone to make this event come alive is what Javelin is all about—telling great stories that people can feel passionate about.” said Jon Maurice, Partner at Javelin.