The Experiencia Patrón pop-up at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 has undergone an eye-catching restyle to mark the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), a holiday that’s being celebrated today (2 November 2022) and is widely observed in Mexico.
The high-profile site has been re-dressed with giant cardboard cut-outs of the calavera, bespoke cocktails for travellers and updated graphics that capture the spirit of the holiday, which serves to remember the dead and celebrate life.
It is one of a series of key seasonal restyles that the four-month (September-December 2022) pop-up, brought to life by Bacardi Global Travel Retail (GTR) in partnership with Dufry, JC Decaux and Heathrow Airport, is showcasing (the next restyle in December will reference the festive holidays).
It marks a significant investment for Bacardi GTR, as it powers awareness of the super-premium Patrón Tequila portfolio to British consumers.
“We are thrilled to be showcasing Patrón Tequila in this immersive brand experience at Heathrow – one of the top performing tequila locations in GTR,” said Sam Pickard, Regional Director, Europe, Bacardi GTR.
“Approximately 65% of passengers who travel through Heathrow are British or America so for us it’s the best that we could possibly choose for the brand.”
“From a customer point of view, one of our key drivers is to give everyone a fantastic experience and the pop-up absolutely typifies that,” said World Duty Free Area Manager Heathrow Jason Toy.
“It represents the brand and is really fun, relaxed and open. There is great engagement from the team and we’ve had great feedback from customers and staff.
“Gifting, personalisation and exclusivity are very important for driving engagement and this ticks all the boxes.”
It’s an important project for Bacardi GTR as it seeks to capitalise on tequila as the rising star of the sprits category.
“Tequila is the fastest growing spirit in the world right now,” said Ignacio Vazquez Global Head of Marketing, Bacardi GTR.
“The tequila category is growing at 40% globally and the premium tequila category comprises a 60% share of this. Within this, the super-premium segment has a US$9 billion retail sales value, according to IWSR figures.
“This particular segment is growing at +70% and an important part of this growth is coming from the markets that are just discovering it.
“Patrón has a 24% share of the super-premium tequila category and, as category leaders, we are very driven to replicate its success story in the US to other parts of the world.
“The UK is a key market for us, and we believe there is a huge potential in Europe. We are also looking at Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. We believe this is the beginning of a phenomenal story.”
Part of raising awareness among British consumers is how to savour the liquid, rather than shot it – more like drinking a whiskey.
Informing the company’ strategy is a focus on digitisation, premiumisation and the evolution of the spirits category into a destination category for consumers due to its penetration rate edging ever higher – all of which Vazquez says are key trends that have accelerated due to the pandemic.
Why the Patrón pop-up is turning heads with its take on inclusive luxury
TRBusiness visited the pop-up on 20 October to see first-hand how the activation is making an impact in the terminal and engaging travellers with its sleek design and collection of fun and immersive experiences.
The first thing that strikes visitors about the space is how its luxury design has managed to create a warm and accessible ambience.
“It’s a beautiful organic design,” said Vazquez. “It’s not exclusive or intimidating. It feels airy and inviting and this is a new way of showing the brand’s luxury codes, which is all about inclusivity. It’s about being playful and elegant.”
The pale latticework structure of the pop-up is inspired by the shape and texture of the piña of the agave plant.
It curves around the brand displays, with a golden Patrón Tequila bee logo to the rear.
Stone textures create a front ‘driveway’ for the entrance, while agave and hedge planters placed around the front add an inviting touch.
Engaging consumers with tailor-made activations
Devised to attract, engage and convert both existing and new Patrón Tequila consumers, the space includes a dedicated bartender offering cocktails.
QR codes at the bar direct consumers to webpages where they find out more about the products via their smartphones.
At the centre of the pop-up is a contoured display stand that tells the story of the brand, from the agave plant harvesting through to the bottle design, and how it is made by hand.
A tour of the Patrón Tequila Hacienda brand home in Jalisco, Mexico can be enjoyed via the digital screen.
The dedicated gifting station allows shoppers to have their purchases gift wrapped by hand and finished with a colourful ribbon along with a bee-shaped card for writing on personal messages.
“We are seeing the engagement level is incredibly high, partly due to the ambassadors [from Blackjack] being very welcoming and friendly and telling amazing stories,” said Vazquez.
“Each different element of the pop-up is designed to tell a story of its own.
“Combined with the bar and gifting areas, this makes people want to really spend time in the space.”
Another corner of the pop-up shines a light on Patrón en Lalique: Serie 3, with a luxury display featuring bottles presented museum style in a glass vitrine cabinet.
Associated stories are shared via QR codes and by utilising AR technology.
As previously reported, the liquid is a rare and inimitable blend of rare extra añejo tequilas, with a cool £3,600 (around US$4,136) price tag.
Pickard revealed that sales of this are ‘on track” at the Heathrow pop-up with around one bottle being sold per week.
Pre-trip communications helping to drive conversion
The company is aiming to drive conversion by strategically targeting consumers with an omnichannel media campaign designed to maximise reach across each stage of the travel journey.
This includes digital out of home screens on the Terminal 5 concourse and in the British Airways Lounges, with programmatic and social media driving data collection for post engagement.
There is also a competition to win a five night stay at a five-star hotel resort on the Mexican Riviera.
“Ahead of the immersive physical experience in the airport, we are connecting with consumers through targeted digital media to drive consideration in the pre-travel stage,” said Vazquez.
The pop-up concept will be activated in other parts of the world that Bacardi GTR is pinpointing in due course.
“The ‘Experiencia Patrón’ is the epitome of Bacardi’s vision for this new era of travel retail.”