UTS Library



Bacardi - Lion

PR Company: 

Horizon Communication Group

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2008 C11 - 8



Executive Summary: 

The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup (CWC) was initially established as a loyalty program for bartenders around the world, with the final taking place in New Zealand.

In 2007 42 BELOW’s goal was to leverage the CWC to raise brand awareness in Australia, not only amongst bartenders and the industry, but with consumer audiences as well.

The key objective of the 2007 strategy was to create an event for the Australian finals of the CWC that would cut through competitor competition clutter in a media context, engage bartenders, effectively engage consumers and embody the brand values of 42 BELOW.

Horizon’s competitor research and media monitoring revealed a cluttered market of similar competitions, therefore the event needed to be unique – the result was the creation of a successful floating cocktail competition on Sydney Harbour, attracting trade and consumer audiences.

A unique event in its own right, the event reinforced 42 BELOW’s brand values and attracted significant media / consumer interest. The program ensured that continued brand excitement was sustained until the New Zealand final later in the year.

Situation Analysis: 

After its entry into the Australian marketplace two years prior, New Zealand brand 42 BELOW had established itself as an irreverent, unique brand with an exciting personality.

The brand had enjoyed a great volume of initial exposure in the market as a ‘new’ product, and pioneered some unique concepts in Australia. As the brand’s main promotional calendar event, the 42BELOW CWC Australian Regional Final was entering its fourth year and was faced with three key challenges. The first was how to keep the event fresh in the eyes of bartenders so that it remained effective as a loyalty program. Secondly, how to extend the competition’s reach and generate consumer interest in the event to lift brand awareness. The third challenge was cutting through an already cluttered market of cocktail events.

Retaining 42 BELOW’s appeal amongst bartenders was an important element of the brand’s growth strategy, and would ensure that the product continued to be heavily stocked in bars throughout the country. Establishing 42BELOW as the brand of choice amongst consumers was also essential in ensuring that request for the product was achieving turnover for the bars. This balance of a ‘pull – push’ strategy was essential in generating long-term demand and growing national sales.  A key leverage activity for the brand to address both these areas was the CWC Australian final.

In addition there were challenges around generating ongoing momentum over a long CWC campaign period (March – start of Australian heats to October – completion of New Zealand final). 

42 BELOW recognised that an intelligent public relations campaign could provide a fresh direction for the Australian competition, providing the concept and delivery tools to create a unique event that would achieve cut through, attract new interest, and reinvigorate existing customer and bartender loyalty.


Horizon’s research focused on identifying the current cocktail competition landscape to better inform the strategic direction of the event.

Media monitoring revealed that there were a significant number of cocktail competitions in the market across industry and competitor brands. In order to achieve the outlined objectives, the 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup Australian Regional Final needed a unique event proposition.

Media testing was carried out to gauge interest in the competition as it stood in its current format amongst industry and consumer outlets.

Knowledge was also gathered from those in the bar industry- 42 BELOW ambassadors who worked in a bar environment. This information revealed a need for the event to reflect the 42 BELOW brand that was highly revered as irreverent and cutting edge. 

The landscape research clearly identified a few needs:

  • To attract media interest the event needed to be unique with an element of newness.
  • To interest consumers the event needed to depart from traditional competitions held in bars.
  • To continue to secure bartender interest there was a need to hold an event that reflected brand values and secured interest amongst this group.

Research undertaken in these early stages ultimately informed the strategic decision and creative development to produce a floating cocktail bar.

Target Policies: 

Traditionally an event targeted at bar tenders, the 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup was looking to extend its reach, targeting the following publics:


Consumers: this group refers to current and ‘would be’ purchasers of 42 BELOW. They are young, on the cutting edge of fashion and trends and are best described as unique in identity. Their personalities reflect the brand values of 42 BELOW.


Bartenders: the brand ambassadors of 42 BELOW in bars, this group are dedicated to the brand, its values and the quality of the product.


Industry: a secondary audience, this group are industry stakeholders such as distributors and industry commentators in the media e.g. Bartender Magazine.


These publics are integral to the success of the brand in relation to the ‘push-pull’ strategy outlined above.

Communication Strategy: 

A floating cocktail bar event in Sydney Harbour was designed as the most appropriate strategy to deliver all aspects of the client’s objectives. The event was designed not only to engage all target publics, but as a catalyst to generate media coverage.


Working in close consultation with 42 BELOW representatives through the evolution of the program, Horizon’s communication and events team delivered an extremely successful strategy.


The purpose of the event itself was to directly engage each target public, whilst the style of the event was designed to generate media coverage that would extend its reach:



Media Leverage


‘Exclusive’ attendance at event

Promotion for exclusive tickets

Media profiling of competitors / winners


Unique event in Sydney utilised as draw card to compete in competition

Media profiling of competitors / winners in industry publication

Industry representatives

A cocktail event with a difference, brand differentiation

Media profiling of competitors / winners in industry publication


Horizon sourced an appropriate venue to deliver the strategy effectively. This involved the transformation of an empty aqua shell into an event space that would reflect the 42 BELOW brand values and create an exciting atmosphere for participants. The venue needed to serve not only as a competition stage but also as an entertainment area for guests.


Event logistics required careful planning and was integral to the overall strategy. The nature of the venue meant that it could only be reached by water taxi once anchored in Sydney Harbour. Any delivery issues around the event logistics could have undermined the entire success of the event, compromising the strategy and intended impression left on the target publics.


The implementation of the strategy involved the following elements:

Pre-final Publicity  

The lead up to the CWC Australian Final event was an important stage in the overall strategy. There was a need to build excitement around the upcoming final event and gain publicity for the competition overall.

Horizon carried out tactical media relations, creating mini campaigns for each Australian competitor in their capital city, with local media generating grass roots support in the 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup Australian heats.

A consumer promotion to attend the exclusive event was run through FBi 94.5FM (200,000 listeners Sydney wide per week), with winners receiving limited release tickets to the event.

The Event

After months of careful event logistic planning and coordination, Horizon delivered a successful floating cocktail bar in Walsh Bay, Sydney Harbour.

Working with 42 BELOW to deliver on event expectations, key areas of note include:

  • Catering: the emphasis was on quality, lavish catering that complimented 42 BELOW cocktails for the guests on the night.
  • Judges: Horizon engaged key Australian celebrities/industry professionals to act as judges e.g. Sam Brett from Sam in the City blog. This lifted the profile of the event, providing further media and competitor interest that assisted in achieving objectives.
  • Theme: 42 BELOW required a theme that reflected the brand personality they were looking to communicate to guests. Horizon sourced Victorian era furniture and bizarre curios to create a truly unique event theme that reflected the experience (please refer to Appendix A).
  • Transportation: a private water taxi was commissioned to take attendees to and from the venue.
  • RSVP management: This was promoted as an exclusive event due to capacity restrictions of the venue, as well as brand positioning, so RSVPs were managed carefully by Horizon. Invitees included industry, media and consumer competition winners. The event attracted over 100 supporters including winners from FBi Radio and 20 journalists from titles such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Oyster magazine, OK!, Vogue Entertaining and Travel, The Sun Herald, Sunday Telegraph Sunday magazine and Men’s Health to name a few.
  • Competition logistics: Horizon briefed all competitors and the MC before the event to ensure smooth running on the night. The actual competition was also run and coordinated by the Horizon team, to ensure integration with the overall event logistics.

All these elements worked together to produce a unique event that captured the attention of everyone in attendance and generated long-term media results.

Post-event Follow Up

Horizon coordinated post event media relations to drive coverage into various publications. This included social pages of Sydney newspapers and street press stories, online magazines and finalist local media.

This media activity also provided an additional approach point for long lead media to remind them about the upcoming New Zealand final and further coverage opportunities.


The results of the event driven 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup Australian Final were significant and delivered the client’s goal and objectives.

The following measurable result outcomes were measured: 

  • Delivery of a highly successful and smooth event for client.
  • 36 articles published as a result of the entire Australian Finals Campaign (heats included) with an audience reach of over 5 million (please refer to Appendix A).
  • Event attendance by all key target publics, providing positive testimonials:

Sam Brett: "Being a judge at the Australian final of the 42 BELOW Cocktail World Cup was definitely by far the most memorable night of 2007 to date - I am still dreaming about the foam cocktail with the Manuka Honey vodka! 

“After sampling possibly every flavour of 42 BELOW throughout the night, I can safely say I am a convert to the smooth texture and taste. And the best part is - it doesn't give a hangover! I've even got my boyfriend onto it and now we're in love with the kiwi fruit flavour. I can't wait for summer and those balmy Aussie nights to sip our new collection of 42 BELOW on our apartment balcony.... now that's bliss...."


Horizon’s strategy delivered successful results for 42 BELOW’s Cocktail World Cup Australian Regional Final, delivering outcomes for the identified objectives:

1. Create a unique event that would cut through competitor cocktail competition clutter in a media context.

  • The event concept was unique to the cocktail competition market, taking it out of the bars into an interactive environment designed to engage each of the target publics. The result was strong media pick up in pre and post event coverage, including great media attendance at the event.

2. Engage bartenders in a fresh concept that would secure brand loyalty.

  • Offering an exciting new aspect to the competition process provided a great additional incentive for bartenders to compete. It also demonstrated the brand as continuing to be cutting edge as reflected in its brand proposition.

3. Effectively engage consumers directly through attendance and indirectly through brand awareness in media coverage.

  • The competition for consumer tickets to attend the event generated 842 entries and almost 80 000 webpage hits through banner advertising on FBi’s homepage.
  • Media coverage in publications that mirrored the readership demographic of 42BELOW’s target audiences demonstrated the success in reaching consumers, utilising the event as a catalyst for increased consumer awareness of the brand.

Continuous media momentum throughout the period indicated, bartender and consumer interest, demonstrate that the event successfully captured the imagination of industry, media and consumers.