Malibu mixes mobile, social to fuel summer campaign.

*Felicia’s commentary– this is an interesting case for mobile and social in regards to spirits brands. The moral of the story is… be succinct, and don’t  give the user too many steps to follow. Especially in mobile, where attention spans are extremely short.”

By Lauren Johnson

July 5, 2013

MalibuDrinking the mobile juice

Malibu is turning to mobile advertising this summer to get the word out about a social media campaign that gives Maroon 5 fans a chance to see the band live.

The spirits brand has teamed up with Maroon 5 this summer to find the area in the United States with the band’s most devout fans via social media. Mobile advertisements that support the campaign are running within the Spotify iPhone application.

“The Malibu Island campaign is quite complicated to understand and interactive with a need to go through multiple steps,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

“It’s an exhausting and prolonged multiple-step process,” he said.

“If you don’t design a campaign well, you end up with poor results like this. What should be a fun experience is a serious headache, and I haven’t even taken a sip of Malibu rum yet – although I feel like I need to.”

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Malibu. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Malibu did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile drink
The Malibu ads are running between songs within the Spotify app.

The copy for the ads encourages consumers to click-through to create their own virtual island for a chance at winning a concert with Maroon 5.

Hum rum existence

When consumers click-through the ad, they are directed to a mobile-optimized Facebook app that is age-gated. The microsite for the campaign is

After verifying their date of birth, consumers are prompted to “Like” Malibu on Facebook to participate in the sweepstakes.

Users can then create their virtual island by filling out a registration form and picking a destination for their island, which is their home city. This will help decide where Maroon 5 plays a concert.

Once an island is made, users can play around with different games and activities.

Message in a bottle

For instance, one game asks consumers to shoot virtual bean bags through a hole to rack up points.

Additionally, consumers can view Malibu recipes and cocktail drinks or listen to Maroon 5 music via the site.

The sweepstakes runs through Sept. 9 when a destination will be picked for a concert with Maroon 5.

At the end of the sweepstakes, Malibu will choose groups of participants who live nearby to attend the concert.

Simplicity is key
Optimizing the Facebook app for mobile is a smart move for a summer campaign when consumers likely are away from desktop devices and are tethered to their smartphones and tablets.

However, the app requires consumers to go through multiple steps to participate and engage with the brand.

This might work on desktops, but does not cut it on mobile when consumers have shorter attention spans.

“Malibu Rum may be sunshine in a bottle, but this campaign is like thunder on a smartphone,” Mr. Buckingham said.

“It is always smart to use mobile, and people will enter these kinds of promotions as long as they are intelligently designed and don’t ask you to enter your date of birth twice and involve so many other steps,” he said.

About Felicia Johnson