Vault49 Launches ‘Uniquely Bahamian’ Design for a New Range of RTDs from Ricardo Rum

Ricardo Rum is THE rum of The Bahamas. If you’ve tried the islands’ most famous cocktail, the Bahama Mama, then you’ve already had a taste of Ricardo. Partnering with the Commonwealth Brewery Ltd. team, Vault49’s London studio was tasked to help this local rum celebrate its ‘Uniquely Bahamian’ brand essence and launch its first ready-to-drink (RTD) offering. The challenge? Drive brand awareness and connect with new consumers, specifically younger emerging audiences, by delivering a modern, Bahamas-focused experience.

“To get under the skin of the Ricardo brand and its significance to the local community, we travelled to The Bahamas to immerse ourselves in the culture.” explained Jonny Bateman, Creative Director of Vault49’s London studio. Jonny continued, “We spent time getting to know the Bahamian people – from mixologists to Bahamian historians, liquid scientists to local business owners – visiting different areas to fully understand the country’s diversity and uniqueness, and what makes Ricardo so iconic on the islands.”

Leading consumer groups and getting involved in taste tests during the product development phase, Vault49 uncovered what it really means to be ‘Uniquely Bahamian’. With an overriding sense of national pride and inclusivity, Vault49’s strategic unlock was rooted in bold self-expression: where everyone has the freedom to be unique.

With all of this in mind, we built a strategic framework to inform our design strategy. Inspiration came from observing a juxtaposition between the islands’ natural sun-drenched beauty with the vibrancy of its people and culture.

“The Bahamas is a feast for all the senses, and there was so much to soak in and draw from.” explained Jonny Bateman, Creative Director of Vault49’s London studio. Jonny continued, “Every element of our design needed to feel real and authentic to Bahamians who know and love the Ricardo brand, whilst simultaneously being culturally relevant to the younger generation looking for new drinking experiences. The colour pops of the houses and shops, the countless hand-painted signs navigating you around the 700+ islands, and the sights, sounds and spirit of Junkanoo, an annual festival and parade that celebrates Bahamian culture, all offered up rich visual inspiration for our design strategy.”

Design details across the new Ricardo RTD brandworld and packaging include:

  • A bold and striking colour palette that celebrates the uniquely Bahamian flavour combinations of the new RTD offerings, mirroring the vibrant and colourful personalities found throughout The Bahamas;
  • Sun-drenched, hand-crafted illustrations of each fruit that build on the flavour stories, plus representations of the sun, sea, sand, and native plants for extra authenticity;
  • Hand-drawn type based on the unique, naturally distressed painterly signs found all over the islands, adding to the real, human feel of brand and new visual language;
  • Handmade textures inspired by the buildings and environment, adding depth and tactility to the can designs and launch communications.

Vault49’s work also spans key visuals, social media assets, and the development of an ownable photography style that captures the ‘Uniquely Bahamian’ moment of drinking, socialising, and island life. The team also collaborated on a suite of launch materials including POS and experiential activations.

“I was excited to work with Vault49 to launch Ricardo’s new RTDs because of the agency’s reputation for creative excellence and attention to craft, which the team has more than delivered on. What has exceeded my expectations is the strong strategic grounding that has been implemented throughout the process, the fun we have had collaborating together, and the relationship we have built. As a result, I’m excited to continue our work together to overhaul the Ricardo Rum masterbrand and reposition the core portfolio for the future. Watch this space.”Timothy White, Senior Spirits Portfolio Manager at Commonwealth Brewery Ltd.

Off the back of this successful partnership and product launch, Vault49’s London studio is now working on Ricardo Rum’s core visual identity system and redesigning the brand’s entire packaging portfolio. More on this later in 2024.