I saw the new Bacardi advert last night - 'Untameable' and it made realise that the company has made a sizable shift in its advertising strategy. For years it has been trying to link itself to young people's identification with the revolutionary spirit of Cuba, when in reality - it is a nasty right wing company was booted out of Cuba in 1959.
I think the new strategy will fail miserably, because fundamentally, I have hope that most people, especially the young, still prefer a humane socialist government (that has lifted millions out of poverty, gives free education to the region and sends more doctors around the world than the World Health Organisation) to a greedy capitalist company that has been responsible for promoting terrorism.
It's new adverts may work in the US, where the blockade against Cuba is seen as acceptable (it causes horrific shortages of basic supplies and medicines, but has never shaken the revolution) - but I'm not sure will go down so well in Europe.
Bacardi were not kicked out of Cuba in 1959 because they were 'cool' but because of their links to the US backed dictator Batista, who tortured and oppressed the population of the country, and turned it into a playground of the Miami super rich, whilst millions in Cuba suffered horrible poverty.
In advertising its lead brand white rum, Bacardi used to play on its Cuban roots, misleading drinkers into believing that Bacardi still has some links with the island. In fact the Bacardi empire is based in the Bahamas and the Bacardi company broke all ties with Cuba after the Revolution of 1959, when its cronies in the hated Batista dictatorship were overthrown by a popular guerrilla movement led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.
The new adverts at last make it clear that Bacardi have no links with socialist Cuba (hilariously, Bacardi still sponsor the 'Che' brand of bars)
Since 1959 the Bacardi company has backed illegal and violent attempts to undermine the Cuban Revolution, including funding the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), a virulently anti-Castro right-wing exile organisation based in Miami, which has been responsible for systematic acts of terrorism against Cuba. Bacardi’s lawyers also helped draft the US Helms-Burton Act, which extends the United States’ blockade of Cuba to third countries, in breach of international trade law. So central was the role of Bacardi’s lawyer, Ignacio E Sanchez (a CANF member) in establishing Helms-Burton that US Senator William Dengue said the law should be renamed the Helms-Bacardi Protection Act.
The Helms-Burton Act was designed to tighten still further the United States blockade of Cuba. The blockade prevents the sale of food, medicines and other essential supplies to Cuba and threatens other countries (including Britain) if they trade with Cuba. It has been estimated that the blockade has cost Cuba over $40 billion in lost production and trade. Every year the US blockade is overwhelmingly condemned by the United Nations.
'Untameable'? I prefer the tagline 'Unshameable'. I going to celebrate their shameless adverts by continuing to boycott Bacardi products, and buying myself a nice big bottle of Havana Club.
Its made in Cuba, the truly untameable country.
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