How tattoos and motorcycles helped Sailor Jerry's become the second biggest spiced rum brand in the world

How tattoos and motorcycles helped Sailor Jerry’s become the second biggest spiced rum brand in the world

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How tattoos and motorcycles helped Sailor Jerry's become the second biggest spiced rum brand in the world

Sailor Jerry’s The rum brand Sailor Jerry sold a million cases for the first time this year, second only to to longtime category leader Captain Morgan.

The company credits its revamped marketing strategy, centered on Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins — the renowned American tattoo artist that it is named after.

Sailor Jerry has also ditched TV and multiplied its fans through strategic partnerships with influencers like celebrity tattoo artists Jonathan Valena, musicians like Alabama Shakes and brands like Harley-Davidson.

Unlike vodka and tequila, which have both seen a resurgence in recent years, rum doesn’t lend itself to craft cocktails quite in the same way. Yet, that hasn’t stopped a relatively small rum brand from steadily climbing up the popularity charts.

Until two years ago, sales for Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum were flat. But the brand, owned by liquor marketer William Grant & Sons, passed a million cases in sales for the first time this year, and is now the second best-selling spiced rum in the world after Diageo’s Captain Morgan — a feat it credits to a revamped marketing strategy.

"Captain Morgan sells six million cases and we’re only at a million," said Josh Hayes, senior brand manager at Sailor Jerry’s. "To be able to compete with that we have to make every dollar count."

Sailor Jerry’s has been doing that by ditching traditional TV ads and by embracing the heritage of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins — the renowned American tattoo artist and Navy man from the mid-1900s that it is named after.

The brand used to spend a bulk of its marketing budget on TV campaigns such as 2014’s " Life Outside the Lines ," which interspersed shots of skateboarders and motorcycle riders with cult film imagery and tattoo designs created by Collins.

But in more recent years, it has adopted a more integrated approach, focused on digital and social media and strategic and co-branded partnerships.Its social media channels including Facebook and Instagram are littered […]