By Eyeopener Staff
As brewers such as Molson and Labatt slug it out in an advertising war over young drinkers, an alcoholic beverage that’s loaded with caffeine has secured a solid footing in clubs and liquor stores by following its own battle plan.
Rev is a blue, vodka-based drink with 7 per cent alcohol. It’s packaged in a slim plastic bottle, and its ingredients include guarana, a South American shrub often dubbed herbal speed.
While almost all of the major clubs carry the drink and the LCBO frequently sells out of it, Rev’s maker, Bacardi, has done virtually nothing to promote it in the mainstream media.
So how did this five-month-old “reverage” become so popular?
Bacardi knew how to reach its market—club-goers.
This summer, Bacardi linked Rev with well-know disc jockeys such as Myka and MC Flipside by sponsoring a cross-country club tour. Bacardi also placed ads in dance-culture publications such as Klublife.
While Rev can be found at raves, Julie Killeen, manager of the Bacardi brand, says ravers aren’t its primary target.
“[They] generally don’t tend to be drinking, so there is not really a market there.”
But the rave scene has spawned a larger mainstream club crowd that’s into jungle, trance and house, and these parties tend to favour booze over drugs. Killeen says this is the crowd Rev is trying to capture. “The idea is that you want to dance all night long.”
The Rev Web site (www.reverage.com), flaunts film footage of Rev drinkers at clubs and bars. It also includes “revelations” from Rev fans.
“I like it when it’s semi-cold,” one drinker says. “It tastes like Smarties, so me and my friends refer to it as Smartie juice.”
Another boasts: “It’s really good, tastes awwwwwwwsome, makes me have a lot of NRG.”
Killeen says Rev’s taste—many fans say the drink tastes like a blue freezie—is one reason is has become so popular.
Adam MacDonald, a second-year image arts student, tried Rev for the first time this summer before heading to a concert. “It kept me going to a good six to seven hours,” he said.
Part of Rev’s success may be attributed to the lack of competitors. It’s two main opponents on the shelves of liquor stores are Sobe, made with guarana and caffeine stimulants, and Agwa, a guarana spirit drink that has 30 per cent alcohol.
But Killeen says Rev is first of its kind, and is produced and sold only in Canada.
While Rev has made inroads with the club crowd—primarily through word of mouth—it has yet to mark a path at Ryerson. The drink isn’t sold in the Ram in the Rye, and food-services manager Ismael Viegas says there’s no demand for the product.
Trevor Bundus, a second-year graphic communications management student, says he’s not impressed with the drink. “I’d take a beer over [Rev] any day.”
He believes Rev is just a “poser drink” trying to cash in on the popularity of the rave culture.
MacDonald shares the same view.
“It’s not a bad drink,” he says. “But if you gave me this to any hard-core raver and told them it’ll give them energy, they’d laugh in your face.”