Bacardi’s Europe chief marketing officer, Shane Hoyne, has admitted his company has "probably under-indexed the industry in terms of our adaption into the digital world".
Hoyne took up the role in June 2015, amid a company restructure that saw it scrap the global CMO roll.
He told the audience at Festival of Media Global in Rome: “Joining Bacardi was a chance to truly change a company, a company that was desperately looking to change how it operated, especially from marketing perspective."
On the digital front, Hoyne confirmed his plans to revamp the family-owned company’s presence online are in full swing. "Conscious changes were made to really move the paradigm and we are now disproportionately investing in the digital world,” he said. "So we’re all in for it. As a culture we are moving a lot more of our spend, effort, strategic focus and our brand vision into the digital sector."
He added that Bacardi has altered its strategy, particularly at the luxury end of its portfolio, to put digital first, although, Hoyne said: "I hate that phrase.”
“We don’t make big ads to make big ads, we make big ads as part of an idea that allows us to play more creatively in the digital world,” he explained. "If it’s a great idea, it will live through digital mediums.”
Hoyne also expressed a desire to further utilise his luxury brands’ ‘homes’ - luxury estates in exotic locations where its drinks were founded or are made - for marketing purposes. “We’ve got to bring these to life…to get people to really understand our heritage and our provenance in a way that you can’t do with traditional media,” he said.
“Otherwise we’re going to be just the same as other companies, and other companies have more money than we have."