Happy birthday, Captain Morgan. Please don't hurt me. Please?

Posted on Thu May 6 2010


The folks as liquor giant Diageo were no dummies for picking Captain Morgan as a mascot for their best-selling rum brand. The swarthy buccaneer with his boot resting on a keg of rum looks like a pretty raucous dude, and his maniacal smile and rakish wardrobe have launched a flotilla of successful marketing campaigns. The current one celebrates the good captain's birthday, for example. "After a lifetime of creating legendary times and being the life of the party," says the press release, "fun-loving celebration icon Captain Morgan is ready to commemorate the most special of occasions on May 15—his 375-ish birthday."
  Life of the party? Legendary times? Aw hell, it's just marketing, right? Because a quick peek into the history books reveals that the real Captain Morgan's idea of a good time went a wee bit past your typical frat bash. A Welsh privateer on the payroll of the British, Henry Morgan was in fact the terror of the Caribbean. Rape and murder were customary tactics in his efforts to rout the Spanish from the islands. Morgan used captured priests and nuns as human shields as he scaled the walls of Porto Bello in 1668. When Morgan sacked the city of Maracaibo, his men amused themselves by torturing the locals until they paid up. The real Captain Morgan was, in the words of Jamaican historian Clinton Black, a man "who could drink and whore with the best of them in many a den of murder."
  OK, so he's not exactly a choir boy. At the very least, we can be assured that Henry Morgan would never have settled for cheap rum. Cheers, dude.

—Posted by Robert Klara

NFL breaks up the party after player strikes Captain Morgan pose

Posted on Fri Nov 13 2009


If there were a guerrilla marketing hall of fame, Captain Morgan would have just earned his induction. Earlier this year, the spiced-rum brand offered to donate $10,000 to charity if an NFL player struck the Captain's pose on camera during the Super Bowl. Nobody took them up on the offer, and it seemed the stunt would fade into the ether. But last Sunday night, during the third quarter of a game against the Eagles, swashbuckling Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek struck the pose—knee raised, hand on hip, mimicking the brand's well-known pirate character—after scoring a touchdown. Celek did so with such gusto that the referees hit him with a 15-yard penalty. Captain Morgan parent Diageo was planning to announce the return of the challenge next week, but Celek apparently heard about it early through a Diageo contact, and figured what the hell. It seems the campaign will be short-lived, though, as the NFL has promised stiff punishment for the next player to do it. Either way, you have to give Captain Morgan some serious credit. It promoted its brand in front of 21.9 million viewers for a mere $10,000. That's some serious ROI.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Appleton takes a jab at Captain Morgan, among other philistines

Posted on Fri Oct 2 2009


Appleton Estates, an upscale rum with a much smaller following than Captain Morgan, apparently got some Dutch courage and took on the Cap'n in a recent ad. The print and outdoor execution, which began appearing last month, states that Appleton is "well above the rank of captain," and this isn't Tennille's ex-husband they're talking about. Jo-Ann Craner, senior brand manager for Appleton, says it's all in good fun. Since May, when it launched its latest campaign, via DeVito/Verdi, Appleton hasn't been taking on Captain Morgan so much as taking on the whole preconceived notion of what rum is. Other ads have mocked the idea of mixing Coca-Cola with Appleton's fine product or using it for, God forbid, a piña colada or something. (Headline: "After 12 years in a barrel, the last thing it wants to do is see the inside of a blender.") Only time will tell what the punchy rum brand will target next. In the meantime, hide your Maraschino cherries and swizzle sticks.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Your friends don't remember last night, but Captain Morgan does

Posted on Wed Aug 26 2009


Given that Snakes on a Plane was a total bomb, you wouldn't think brands would want to copy its marketing tactics. But Captain Morgan is never one to back down from unusual strategies (like when his caravan of Morganettes drove drunkards home during the Final Four). This time he's inviting people to prank call their friends using one of three identities: the cute girl at the bar, the unpaid bartender or the angry boyfriend. Visitors to CallingAllCaptains.com (which is guarded by a skanky looking policewoman/pirate) are asked to enter some telling information about their friends. A customized message is then derived using the victim's name, description, a mutual friend and a location. The friend then gets a message suggesting he or she got in some trouble the night before. This application, built by MRM Worldwide, pays homage to Samuel L. Jackson's Snakes on a Plane prank-call push three years ago. A reported 1.5 million semi-personalized messages using audio of Jackson were sent. Well, the movie came and went, but the joke lived on. There are a number of YouTube videos with jokers harassing unsuspecting people with clips of Jackson's dialogue from Pulp Fiction and other movies. We'll see if the Captain's campaign stay's afloat as long.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Captain Morgan is not the only totally awesome captain around

Posted on Fri Jul 17 2009


Captain Morgan is obviously the captain of rum. But he's curious about who his peers are in other walks of life. So, the rum brand interviewed 1,000 Americans ages 21-49 to find out their picks for some other worthy captains. They named Kobe Bryant both "Captain Cocky" and "Captain Clutch." Angelina Jolie beat out Megan Fox by a two-to-one margin for the title of "Captain Sexy" among women. Husband Brad Pitt took the honors among men. The "Captain Comebacks" were Brett Farve and Mickey Rourke. "Captain Blockbuster" was Will Smith, and U2 were "Captain Show Stoppers." Tom Brady just barely beat out Derek Jeter and Kate Hudson's alleged new boyfriend, Alex Rodriguez, as "Captain Ladies Man."

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Captain Morgan desperate to be a role model for good behavior

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009


When March Madness descends upon Detroit's Ford Field this weekend for the Final Four, Captain Morgan will be on hand to make sure everyone has a good time but stays safe. In a city best known for producing automobiles, the mischievous captain will be trying to keep drunk drivers out of theirs. From April 3-5, the "Captain's Caravan" will provide free rides around town. There will be two 20-passenger shuttles and one 56-passsenger bus cruising around Motor City from 2 p.m. EST to midnight each day. The shuttle will offer complimentary water and "the Captain's beautiful Morganettes as they drop off adult consumers at hotels in the Downtown Detroit area," reads the press release. Sounds almost like an escort service.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Captain Morgan trots out Stacy Keibler for its Super Bowl stunt

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009


Many a drunken lout has struck the good-spirited Captain Morgan pose. Now, the spirits brand is urging NFL players in Sunday's Super Bowl to assume the signature pose during the game.
  For every player who mimics the Captain, the spiced rum will donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice. It will donate up $50,000 under this "Pose for Play" program. The brand has tapped former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader (and professional wrestler) Stacy Keibler to serve as the spokeswoman for the contest. In other words, to pose for leggy pictures like this one.
  "As a former professional football cheerleader, I know nothing revs up the crowd more than a big play," says Keibler. "Now, by striking the Captain's pose, players can turn a good play into a great deed."
  Thanks, Stacy.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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