The Bacardí OakHeart bar (above and below) aims to build brand awareness among leisure passengers and add theatre to the bar offer at Schiphol

NETHERLANDS. A ground-breaking partnership between Bacardi Global Travel Retail and Schiphol Media, together with retail and food & beverage concessionaires Schiphol Airport Retail and HMSHost, has created Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s first pop-up bar, dedicated to Bacardí OakHeart. The bar is combined with a retail store to create the first opportunity of its type for travellers at Amsterdam Schiphol to try product before they buy.

The move is part of an airport-wide activation around Bacardí OakHeart and Bacardí’s 150th anniversary celebrations during July and August, which takes in billboard and digital display advertising, as well as in-store promotions.

“At Bacardi we love to push the boundaries in travel retail,” said Bacardi Global Travel Retail’s Regional Director for North and South Europe Aude Rocourt, “and this is a landmark occasion in the history of Schiphol Airport.”

The bar and lounge, located between piers B and C, offers consumers the opportunity to order an ‘Oak & Coke’ – Bacardí OakHeart poured over ice and mixed with Coca-Cola – and through the integrated retail store they can buy a bottle to take with them. Free sampling is not permitted at Schiphol; instead, travellers can purchase an ‘Oak & Coke’ for €5 per serving.

The retail element of the store is managed by Schiphol Group-owned Schiphol Airport Retail, while HMSHost manages bar sales, each through separate tills.

The bar has opened at the airport’s busiest time of the year, and is aimed at young adult travellers, with leisure passengers making up around 75% of the passenger profile in this zone at this time of year. Transit passengers, who are around 40% of the passenger base during the Summer, are also a key target group. Some 1.7 million passengers will pass through Lounge 1 to Schengen destinations during the period from 1 July to 15 August, when the pop-up store is open.

The design mirrors the look of a beach or backpacker bar, with wooden floorings and fixtures, and surf board-style seats. Visitors can explore the new Bacardí OakHeart App on an iPad installed in the bar, and can play table football while they have a drink.

“We want to give as many of our target consumers as possible the opportunity to try OakHeart,” added Rocourt. “This unique partnership means that we will be reaching huge numbers of them at one of the busiest airports in the world for the first time ever.”

“What Bacardi Global Travel Retail has delivered is a first for Schiphol Airport,” said Maurice Boonen, Key Account Manager at Schiphol Media. “We have worked closely with the team from Bacardi to help them achieve it. The new Bacardí OakHeart pop-up bar makes such a dramatic impact and is so prominently located that it’s a magnet for young adult travellers at Schiphol who are loving the opportunity to sample an ‘Oak & Coke’ for the first time.”

Concourse signage guides passengers in Lounge 1 towards the OakHeart bar

Boonen added: “We wanted to create an experience, and more theatre for passengers, so when Eric van Straaten [Regional Sales Manager for Bacardi Global Travel Retail] approached us with the idea to do something special around OakHeart, it offered us a great opportunity. For Schiphol this could be a new model for future activations, and for the airport it’s a great showcase. It tells potential clients that we are open, flexible and innovative, and that Schiphol Airport is a platform for building brands and sales. It also brings into play other partners such as Schiphol Airport Retail and HMSHost, and we are one of the few airports that could create this kind of showcase.”

Bacardi Global Travel Retail Trade Marketing Manager Rob Milton added: “The key for Bacardí is getting ‘liquid to lips’, and getting people to try the brand. We have pushed the boundaries with this project, and we’ll be aiming to do much more to engage travellers and add value to the brand, airport and retail partners in future.”

Dawn Wilding, Vice President of HMSHost Europe and Africa, told The Moodie Report: “HMSHost continually looks for ways to make the traveller’s day better. This collaboration between HMSHost, Bacardi and Schiphol Airport Retail is an exciting example of bringing together retail and hospitality in an innovative way. The Bacardí pop-up store is a small commercial space that is easily turned into a fun location for passengers to enjoy our hospitality before their flight.”

In addition to the pop-up bar and retail unit, Bacardi Global Travel Retail has joined with Schiphol Airport Retail and Schiphol Media to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand.

Throughout the airport’s concourse and prime retail spaces are displays promoting 150 years of Bacardí parties.

Standing in the centre of the extensive retail space dedicated to Bacardí Superior rum in the Lounge 2 store is a giant 10-foot Bacardi Bat decorated with photography and advertisements celebrating the brand’s heritage as well as contemporary imagery.

Bacardi’s 150th anniversary is a central feature of the airport-wide activation

This area combines elements of Bacardí history, aimed at building awareness of the brand, with a strong sales proposition. This includes a promotion of 1.5l of Bacardí Superior for €18, plus a limited edition ‘Brotherhood of the Bat’ T-shirt offer, which is available free to consumers who pick-up two bottles of Bacardi rum. The full Bacardí rum portfolio is also available in this store.

The Lounge 2 store also includes a showcase for the 150th anniversary limited edition decanter of Bacardí rum, created by the eight master blenders of the Bacardi family. With a price point of €1,700, three have already been sold to travellers through Schiphol.

The activation in Lounge 1 comprises extensive advertising through digital signage, in-store offers and promotions, culminating in the pop-up bar.

Footfall drivers at the retail store include a Bacardí photobooth where travellers can capture a group picture in front of the backdrop of their choice. It’s backed up by floor stickers on the route towards the store, extensive digital billboard signage plus advertising on the flight information display screens (see image gallery below). The aim is to guide people from the store towards the OakHeart bar.

The combination of media and retail is already paying off, according to the airport and brand owner.

Bacardí has become the number two selling spirits brand (behind Johnnie Walker) at Schiphol in July, and the number one selling brand in lounges 1 and 2, home to the major elements in the activation.