Boycott Bacardi: Your Summer Rum Buying Guide

Boycott Bacardi: Your Summer Rum Buying Guide

Summary: Bacardi's misogynistic Israeli Internet advertising campaign will only get them scores of disdain from American consumers. What the hell was Bacardi thinking?

TOPICS: IT Employment, CXO

So hideous, she doesn't even get a name.

Bacardi's misogynistic Israeli Internet advertising campaign will only get them scores of disdain from American consumers. What the hell was Bacardi thinking?

I had to see it to believe it. Bermuda-headquartered Bacardi, the world's largest spirits distiller, decided to launch a English and Hebrew language Internet ad campaign for Bacardi Breezers in Israel and on FaceBook (see cached link, original site seems to have been pulled) with online agency McCann Digital.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

While Bacardi and McCann Digital seem to have pulled their sites on the Web and FaceBook for now, you can still see the Google Cache of this utterly disgusting attempt at attracting customers. Maybe the Israelis have a strange sense of humor about these sort of things, but I find the campaign utterly degrading towards women, as the premise is that in order to make yourself look good this summer, you should find yourself an ugly girlfriend. The interactive, flash based web site features four ugly girlfriends, "Ugly Girlfriend for the Beach", "Ugly Girlfriend for the Mall", "Ugly Girlfriend for a BBQ", "Ugly Girlfriend for a Pool Party", all of which portray women in the most unflattering way.

Bacardi, I'm not sure the last time you checked, but in your largest constituency, Puerto Rico, where most of your product is produced for the North American market, most women don't fit the ultra-thin, supermodel archetype. They're chunky. And I like them that way. And I'm guessing your insensitive advertisements wouldn't go over real well over there.

[EDIT: Bacardi, in official response (see talkbacks) is claiming that the advertisement in question ran for two months in 2008, and does not support the views of the local affiliate that produced it. That's fine and dandy, but why wait so long to pull the site?]

I'm not going to go into depth on how stupid this ad campaign was, because other bloggers have done a much better job than I have in expressing their anger at this company. Instead, when I get angry at a major corporation for unbelievably stupid marketing decisions such as this, I prefer to vote with my wallet.

Being something of a rum enthusiast myself, and having a collection of over 50 different kinds from all parts of the world, I've decided to provide a list of Bacardi alternatives so that you can make your rum drinks this summer without having to support a bunch of misogynistic, insensitive, callous jackasses.

Don Q Rum, produced by Serrales, the second largest spirits company in Puerto Rico, is a perfect analogue and swap-in replacement to Bacardi. Like Bacardi, it has the distinction of being inexpensive and easy to find at just about any liquor store, and it comes in both clear (Cristal) and dark (Anejo) forms as well as Lemon, Mojito and Passion Fruit versions. Don Q is also the preferred mixing rum of most Puerto Ricans, as it is generally less expensive than Bacardi. Serrales is also the same company that makes Captain Morgan and Palo Viejo.

While DonQ Cristal will easily sub in for Bacardi Superior/Carta Blanca, for mixing rum and Cokes for a large party, or for Pina Coladas, my workhorse Dark Rum vote has to go to Brugal Anejo, from the Dominican Republic. While primarily popular among Domican Americans, Brugal is easily found in just about any liquor store in the United States. The White variety is also very good, but harder to find.

For flavored rums, look no further than the United States Virgin Islands own Cruzan Rum Distillery, which makes a large selection of high quality fruit infused rums. Among my favorites are their Guava, Junkanu (Citrus) and Pineapple. Cruzan also makes some premium aged rums as well, such as their Estate Diamond and Single Barrel which have won a number of tasting awards. Every rum I have ever tasted from Cruzan is top quality, so if you can find it in your local liquor store, by all means grab it up.

When it comes to sipping rums straight over ice, I have a number of favorites, each of which has their own special characteristic flavor.  Ron Del Barrilito, from Puerto Rico's tiny Edmundo Fernandez distillery, has good distribution in the United States, and is a very high quality rum enjoyed by many Puerto Ricans for after-meal festivities.  Barrilito is such good stuff that I've been known to buy entire cases of it for gifts when I come back from trips to Puerto Rico. Edmundo Fernandez only makes two Barrilito rums -- the Two Star, which is aged for at least 3 years in bourbon barrels, which is also good for mixing, and the Three Star, which is a blend of rums 6 to 10 years old.  The 3-star tastes best over ice.

While not currently available in the United States due to trade embargo, I'm also partial to the Havana Club 5 and 7 year olds, from Cuba, which can be easily purchased in Canada as well as most parts of Europe through any store which carries Pernod-Ricard products. For a similar tasting Cuban-style rum that is distributed in the United States, the Miami-headquartered and Cuban-American owned Matusalem makes really four really nice rums -- a white, gold, 7-year old and a 15-year-old Solera (my fave) from the Dominican Republic.

For a really different rum experience, have a look at Barbancourt from Haiti, which has a characteristically smoky and complex flavor due to its unique blend of distilled aged sugar cane juice, sugar syrup and molasses rather than just molasses like industrial rums from DonQ or Bacardi. Barbancourt is offered 3-star (4 years old), 5-Star (8 years old) and Reserve du Domaine (15 years) versions. My favorite, naturally, is the 15-year, which like the Barrilito should be reserved for drinking straight over ice, although I admit it makes a hell of a Rum and Coke Zero. With a glass of Barbancourt over ice, you too can feel like a Papa Doc or Baby Doc from the privacy of your own home.

For super special rum drinking with your closest friends, such as appreciating a fine cigar, pick yourself up a bottle of Ron Zacapa Centenario Reserva, a blend of 6 to 23-year-old rums from Guatemala. Up until recently, this ultra-super-premium aged rum had only limited distribution in the United States, but now it should be much easier to find. This rum should really be served neat, like a cognac, in a brandy snifter, and tastes better when warmed by the heat of your palm.

Also See: Ed Hamilton's Ministry of Rum Web Site

With the information I've armed you with, you'll have no need for Bacardi this summer or any other time of the year. What are your favorite Rum Drinks? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Pusser's Rum!

    If it was good enough for the Royal Navy.....

    • Pussers

      Very good stuff, although not universal distribution in the US. A definite buy if you can find it. I have their limited British naval flagon bottling that they did several years back, its an amazing rum.
      • I Like Appleton Myself

        and I buy Appleton for my wife. She uses it in her mixed fruit drinks.
      • How dare you..

        ..recommend any alcoholic beverage to anyone for any purpose! This is an outright slap in the face to anyone who has suffered directly or indirectly from the ravages of alcohol abuse!
        In fact, don't say anything about anyone or any subject! You're very likely to offend someone...
    • Not only good enough,

      but they still donate a portion of each sale to a sailors benefit non profit. Excellent social responsibility to the source of their fame.
  • How arrogant can you get?

    Imposing so-called American values on an Ad Campaign in another country?

    Are you actually serious?

    This from a guy who was, two days prior, asking what animals a person would be willing to mutilate to get an iPhone 3GS.

    • American Values?

      In which modern democracy, Israel included, would you find an ad-campaign like this inoffensive to women?
      • The offended women are offensive to mens eyes.

        Humans were never meant to look so disgusting.

        Just eat the right amount of food.
        • An apology to all larger women.

          I meant to say "eat the right amount of the right food."

          Sorry for any confusion.
    • You're way off-base there...

      1) You [i]do[/i] understand the difference between human beings and animals, don't you?

      2) It was an [i]Internet[/i] ad, launched on Facebook, and in Israel (and in English, besides). This wasn't some local newspaper running an ad in an isolated culture the world at large wasn't supposed to see.

      The only way the ad could've been more vicious and demeaning would be if it was directed at a specific woman in particular.
      • Do *you* know the difference?

        In one case it is jokingly suggested that animals be mutilated, while in the other (also jokingly) it is suggested ugly women make good-looking men hotter.

        In case you don't quite understand the distinction, coming a mere week after the Florida cat killer was arrested, life is destroyed in one case, and someone has hurt feelings in the other. I'll let you think about that one...

        No one is arguing the ad wasn't demeaning. My point was, the author was in no position to call for a boycott from some supposed position of superior moral outrage.
        • Why not?

          Boycotts are fun, especially when an ad salesman (or, possibly, woman) sells reputation ruin.
          Not the girlfriends' reputations, mind you, it was Bacardi's reputation that went south.
    • It's not arrogance

      It's called decency. It's not a good thing to advertise women as ugly. It is hurtful.

      Btw I'm from Europe. It would also be considered tasteless there.
      • Even if they make themselves ugly?

        I think it's great, poking fun out of people, and it may be the impetus some need to break out of their self-harming procrastination and do something about themselves.

        It does need to be brought into the public consciousness, otherwise we'll all end up dying out because either everybody will be too ugly (or physically impossible) to have sex with, or our DNA will just get so weak that eventually people won't even be able to lift a fork into their fat faces.
    • Pay attention!

      Some who post here do not seem to realize the ads were aimed at
      women, not men. The supposed logic being that a woman with a
      less attractive girlfriend around will look better (to men) by
      comparison. So lame.

      Which reminds me, there is a TV show called "Ugly Betty" that
      apparently is still on the air. I don't know or care what the
      premise of the sitcom is, I find the title so offensive that I
      wouldn't watch it. But that's just me, a long-time married guy, and
  • RE: Boycott Bacardi: Your Summer Rum Buying Guide

    Thank you for taking the time to post your story on Bacardi Breezer.

    The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

    Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.
    • Then why...

      Did you wait a YEAR to remove the site from the Internet?
  • If you are going to rant


    You need to also boycott:

    "Our Rum Brands
    BACARDI Superior
    BACARDI Gold / Oro
    BACARDI Black / Select
    BACARDI 151?
    BACARDI Reserva
    BACARDI A?ejo
    BACARDI 1873
    BACARDI 1873 Solera
    BACARDI Reserva Limitada
    CASTILLO Silver
    CASTILLO A?ejo
    CASTILLO Spiced

    Our Clear Flavoured Rum / Spirit Brands

    Our Italian Vermouth Brands
    MARTINI Bianco
    MARTINI Rosso
    MARTINI Ros?

    Our French Vermouth Brands

    Our Vodka Brands
    GREY GOOSE L'Orange
    GREY GOOSE La Poire
    GREY GOOSE Le Citron
    ERISTOFF Black

    Our Blended Scotch Whisky Brands
    DEWAR'S 12 Year Old
    DEWAR'S Signature
    DEWAR'S 18 Year Old
    WILLIAM LAWSON'S Finest Blended

    Our Single Malt Scotch Whisky Brands
    ABERFELDY 12 Year Old
    ABERFELDY 21 Year Old
    GLEN DEVERON 10 Year Old

    Our Gin Brands

    Our Tequila Brands
    CAZADORES Reposado
    CAZADORES Blanco
    CORZO Reposado
    CORZO Blanco
    CORZO A?ejo

    Our Cognac Brands
    OTARD Napole?n
    OTARD XO Gold
    OTARD 55
    OTARD 1795 Extra

    Our Brandy Brands

    Our Liqueur Brands
    GET 27/31

    Our Sparkling Wine Brands
    MARTINI Asti
    MARTINI Riesling
    MARTINI Prosecco
    MARTINI Brut
  • Being an Israeli man (half at least), I am ashamed

    I didn't see this ad anywhere (while I do use Facebook, I don't use any Israeli sites - I've only been here for 4 years, and I rarely touch the Israel internet).

    It's pretty tasteless indeed.

    I must question though, why is this on ZDnet's front page? It's the first time I see an article about something so non-tech related on the front page, as far as I can recall.
    Daniel Breslauer
    • Coverage

      It's on the front page currently because the newest articles are showcased in date order.

      Not everything on my blog is "Pure Tech". In this case, I'm covering the web and internet marketing.