Troup Injects Bruno Mars' Personality Into SelvaRey Rum Refresh

by Rudy Sanchez on 02/18/2021 | 4 Minute Read

Celebrities getting into the spirits game is nothing new. Marketing and promotion is such a large part of the liquor industry, and bringing on a successful and famous athlete, actor, musician, or reality star can provide an edge. Some do little more than endorsing a product, but others put in significant resources and become engaged investors in their new venture.

Grammy-award winner Bruno Mars joined the ranks of Dylan, Clooney, and Diddy as a hands-on celebrity investor in a spirit. Mars, whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez, is unique among famous spirits moguls in hitching his wagon with rum, specifically SelvaRey.

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The singer-songwriter was first introduced to SelvaRey when the brand began catering events for Mars in 2014. Soon after, he made an equity investment in the rum. The Hawaiian-born superstar is well acquainted with the spirit, which often serves as a base for tiki cocktails. Rum is also in coquito, a popular Puerto Rican drink. Since Mars’ father is half Puerto Rican, it gave the artist another personal connection with the liquor.

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Editorial photograph

Despite being an investor for several years, SelvaRey had only been a hobby to Mars. The rum, made in Panama by accomplished rum blender Don “Pancho” Francisco Fernandez, was tasty enough. But the brand was stalling while failing to leverage the enormous value in having a superstar investor passionate about rum and SelvaRey. Recognizing a need to imbue the brand with Mars’ personality while elevating it to the super-premium space, SelvaRey brought in agency Troup to realign and revitalize the brand.

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Editorial photograph

“The brief was simple," said David Whaite, co-founder and chief design officer at Troup. "Create a new design direction that embodied Bruno’s evolved vision for SelvaRey, craft a more approachable, culturally relevant brand, and produce new packaging across multiple products that break the norm for rum and make something exciting for people to drink, experience, and talk about."

The new visual identity draws a lot of inspiration from the 70s, leveraging a retro-tropical vibe that strongly resonates with the brand. SelvaRey's update whisks you away to a hideaway beach, appropriate while privately basking in the sun or partying late into the night by the bonfire.

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“I tried the rum years ago and loved it. It tasted like tropical luxury, like I was on vacation,” Mars said in a statement announcing the redesign. “So we started working together, bouncing ideas about how we could show people how this drink makes you feel. Took some years and a lot of piña coladas, but, dare I say, we did it.”

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

The bottles are long and slender, with a rounded stopper. Gold cork labels slide down the neck, a shield adorned with a palm tree anchoring it visually. Further down the bottle, a seal featuring a polished toucan against a textured background gets placed, along with “SelvaRey” executed in a personable and elegant script. SelvaRey white comes in a clear bottle, and chocolate comes in darker glass. Owner’s Reserve, their premium blended rums from 15-25 years old, comes in a similarly dark bottle but in a deep green. The outer packaging for this exclusive spirit comes meticulously designed, with luxe details found throughout the packaging. The box incorporates several finishes, from snakeskin embossing, gold details, and textured paint-like strokes.

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

Mars and the SelvaRey team worked closely with Troup to ensure the refresh was true to the brand's concept, recreating that luxury vacation experience he saw in every drink made with SelvaRey rum. “We really wanted to embrace [Bruno Mars’] vision and make something he and the rest of the team were proud of and believed in. Everything was meticulously thought over and debated from materials, iconography, color palette, styling, bottle design and shape, and packaging."

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Troup’s touch on SelvaRey makes full use of Mars’ backing the brand, injecting the same showmanship and fun of its famous investor. The agency channels into SelvaRey's new branding and packaging the same energy that gets tipsy titos and aunties dancing when the wedding DJ plays Uptown Funk

That’s the kind of unbridled party mood you want in your rum.

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