There has been a lot of discussion about brand stories recently, but it’s important to differentiate between vaguely extrapolated marketing gimmicks and genuine humdingers of revolution and exile, fire and earthquakes. BACARDÍ boasts a heritage that includes an astonishing array of interesting tales, and they’ve drawn on this rich reserve to create their very own graphic novel.
The piece is a collaboration between graphic novel heavyweights Warren Ellis and Michael Allred, with the former working on the words and the latter creating the imagery for The Spirit of BACARDÍ. It tells the story of Emilio Bacardí, son of the famous brand’s founder, who played a key part in the Cuban independence struggles of the late 19th Century; overcoming imprisonment and exile to become the first freely-elected Mayor of Santiago de Cuba (a city known as The Cradle of the Revolution).
As part of an innovative launch strategy, we join the story at Chapter Three, where Emilio resolves to help the rebel liberation army, which is under-resourced, exhausted and facing inglorious failure. He starts helping with finance and communications in the hills around Santiago de Cuba; thus beginning a personal journey that will get much tougher before it gets better. In the distance you can see Our Lady of El Cobre, a stunning church dedicated to the patroness of Cuba.
Ellis said: “Storytelling requires great characters, and in Emilio Bacardí we have exactly that. He was a patriot, passionate about his homeland of Cuba. My focus was to bring his drive and determination to life.”