The bat has been the brand’s symbol since Bacardi’s foundation in 1862 in Cuba, by Spanish-born entrepreneur Don Facundo Bacardi Masso.
The bat was introduced, according to Bacardi, when Bacardi Masso’s wife Dona Amalia saw a colony of fruit bats in the rafters of the rum distillery.
The creature is a symbol of ‘good luck, good fortune and family unity’ in Spain and Cuba, says the brand.
Bacardi says, “[Dona Amalia] was aware that a huge number of Cubans couldn’t read or write, but if they saw a logo they recognised they could still order their favourite drink…from that point on, every barrel of Bacardi came stamped with a black outline of a bat.”
Here Design’s updated logo is inspired by hand-drawn designs from the early 1900s. The word-mark has also been redrawn, inspired by the Cuban Art Deco style from the late 1920s to early 1930s which can be seen on Bacardi’s Havana sales office, which bears a bronze bat and Art Deco typeface.
The consultancy was appointed to the project having been contacted directly by a member of the Bacardi family.
Caz Hildebrand, creative partner at Here Design, says, “They invited us to do a little bit of work on the heritage story and we couldn’t believe how incredible it was. Nobody knew about this amazing story of this brand – it was so unsung.”
Bacardi Masso founded Bacardi around events including an earthquake in Cuba, a cholera outbreak that killed his son Juan and daughter Maria, and the exile of his son Emilio Bacardi Moreau, a ‘freedom fighter, politician and philanthropist’, according to Bacardi rum. This forced the brand out of Cuba, and its Puerto Rican plant became its main production house.
‘It’s such a rich archive’, says Hildebrand. ‘Everything we’ve done has come from those archives – nothing we’ve done isn’t real or true or doesn’t belong to the heritage of the brand’.
The new bat was drawn by illustrator and woodcutter Andrew Davidson, and is formed from past logos, aiming to move away from the recent ‘cartoonish’ look, according to Hildebrand.
The refreshed branding forms part of a wider campaign launching this month, centred on the ‘Bacardi untameable since 1862’ message. The advertising campaign includes by 30- and 60-second television advertisements, created by Dante Aiola and filmed on location at Ouro Preto, Brazil.
There will also be out-of-home advertising, showing headlines including ‘We Remember Prohibition – It was a Blast’; ‘Some Men are Kicked Out of Bars – Others are Kicked Out of Countries’; and ‘Earthquakes, Fire, Exile, Prohibition – Sorry Fate, You Picked the Wrong Family.’