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AB InBev case study: Cubanisto flavoured rum with glow-in-the dark label

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Cubanisto flavoured rum with glow-in-the dark label

Related tags Citrus Cuba Brand

AB InBev launched a rum flavoured beer last year in an eye-catching bottle with UV-light sensitive coating.

Inspired by the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean, the beer tastes of citrus, orange zest and lime, and during the launch invited consumers to secret consumer experiences which could only be unlocked through social media

'Party time occasion'

Speaking at EuroPack 2015, in Monaco, France, Erwin Dito, former innovation and packaging director Western Europe, AB InBev said similar to Heineken tequila-flavoured Desperados which was taking hold in France, it wanted to target young trendsetters in Germany, France, the UK and Belgium to gain share in the party time occasion.


We took a piece of paper and started with the story, a VBBP (values based benefit package) composition enjoying life being youthful, we called the project Latin Spirit, because we were convinced we should take the route of the lasting feeling and a key ingredient is a spirit. We created six stories and nine designs,​” he said.

We came up with a story called Vedado: a forbidden district in Havana, Cuba, where rum was forbidden. Everybody knows the best parties are the forbidden parties and Vedado became a spot that attracted real party people​.

We discovered there was a Vedado and a troubled district where rum was forbidden. The story is not made up, it’s based on a real thing, and that’s important​.”

Dito said AB InBev asked consumers to make mood boards for them when they read the story.

The winning design was the party animal, with skull icon

The three wining early designs were designs based on a ‘party animal’, the ‘star of the beach’ and ‘the gentleman’. The winning design was the party animal, with skull icon.

We had a Cuban story with a Mexico design so I searched the internet for skulls on Cuba to find the link, we didn’t find it but we went with the design anyway​,” he added.

At the time, the draft design was inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, it stands out from anything we had before and has a strong brand value, because it draws attention and intrigue​.

The story is about the lure of the forbidden, it conveys freedom, confidence, and dedication​.

It went to market under the title Cubanisto flavoured rum. The label glows in the dark and sales are above expectations. It is also launched in the US under a different name, ‘Oculto’​.”


According to Dito, the branding works for the product because it has a strong visual identity starts to trigger its own story.

He said as part of the launch, AB InBev held secret parties with a password to get in.

The results were pretty impressive for a brand that didn’t exist on the market before. It shows that everyone has a story and it’s our job to tell it effectively through our packaging. It doesn’t have to be useful but to convey a message​,” he added.

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