Rum has always had a long association with the sea. It was drunk by pirates, rationed out to sailors and used often as a form of currency when traded between romantic foreign ports.
Rum has long been tangled up in myth, both frightening and exotic, but it is the category’s history and that very mythology, that has captured the palettes of drinkers throughout the ages.
It is therefore not surprising that when a new spiced Rum was launched in 2010, it would leverage its brand on the myths and history of the spirit. Released into a crowded rum market, The Kraken not only needed to be a good rum but also needed to distinguish itself and what better way to do this than with hints of myth and tall tales.
With its unique double-handled bottle, the illustration style of the label and a name itself, The Kraken set about to show its inventiveness and capture (like its namesake) drinkers around the world.
Unlike most brands, the story of The Kraken is not a story of terroir, botanicals, ingredients or flavours. Instead, it is a story about marketing, creativity and the benefit of standing out. The Kraken has become one of those rare alcohol brands that launched with a concept story and packaging design that was more the focus, than the alcohol itself.
Sure the rum itself is good; it’s strong, rich, black and smooth. But it is the legend of the Kraken and the idea that it will, as the marketing tells us, ’Put a beast in your belly’ that captures the imagination.
Now if you’re not up on your mythical sea beast mythology, the Kraken was believed to be a giant beast that dwelled off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. There are tales that refer to the creature being so big that it was mistaken for an island or a series of islands. It is believed that the legend originated from sightings of giant squids that might have been as big as 13–15 meters (40–50 feet) in length – although some stories of the Kraken have it with a width of one and a half miles.
Legend has it that a Kraken would attack a ship by wrapping its tentacles around the hull and capsizing it. The crew would drown or be eaten by the monster. If the Kraken itself did not yank you down into the sea directly, the whirlpool that such a large creature could create in the waves was bound to finish the task.
The Kraken may have been a horrifying creature directly from the murky depths, but its legend fascinates drinkers as it did sailors of old. And it is this superstition and legend that the brand has utilised to create a world of myth and adventure. Beyond the appearance of the bottle on retailers shelves, the consistency of the single-mindedness of the design, combined with its overarching story narrative bring the beast to life through a range of mediums including ads, merchandise and their website design.
Whether it be through their outdoor advertising where a series of disruptive 3-D billboards gave you an idea of the Kraken’s power.
Or through ads that play on the myth
or the Kraken’s supposed strength
or then integrates these idea with the packaging itself.
Ultimately you’ve got to admire a brand that truly commits to its narrative, no matter what the event
and continues that theme through a variety of mediums, be it the membership area on their website
or through available merchandise
So if you are after a brand that not only has a strong story to tell but also ensures that narrative runs through everything they do, then perhaps it’s time to Release The Kraken.