Barcardi Dark Rum

“We market our products in a responsible way and encourage our consumers to enjoy our drinks in moderation.”
- “Spirit for Life” Bacardi Limited Corporate Responsibility Report 2011

The practice of placing hidden (subliminal) imagery in select print advertisements is a technique used by advertisers.  Advertisers know that most people will not spend much time looking at print advertisements.  Therefore, hidden (subliminal) ideas, imagery, and words can be placed in print advertisements without immediate detection.

The Dark Side of Subliminal Advertising is a blog site that exposes the advertising technique of placing hidden (subliminal) ideas, imagery, and words in advertisements.  
It is important to realize that ads are not designed for the conscious mind, they are deliberately designed to reach the subconscious mind.

On average, people look at a print ad for no more than two seconds.  Therefore the advertiser has two seconds in which to convey a message.

With this in mind, look closely at this advertisement and see if you notice anything interesting:

This Bacardi ad appeared in major magazines for two years. The majority of print advertisements are featured in magazines for only one month. Some print advertisements might be repeated throughout the course of a year.  Due to the fact that this print advertisement appeared in major magazines for two years means that this is a very effective ad.

In just five years after this ad last appeared in major magazines, Bacardi rum became the number one premium distilled spirits brand in the United States. 1


In 1829, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso emigrated from Spain to Santiago, Cuba.  Through his own experiments, he found that if the rum that was popular on the island was sent through a charcoal filter, then the result was “a light, surprisingly smooth and flavorful drink.” 2

In 1862, with the development of the new Bacardi rum, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso “purchased a tin roofed factory building in which he planned to start a distillery. In the roof of the building lived a family of fruit bats, considered to be a good luck omen in Cuban mythology. To this day, the official logo of the Barcardi Company bears the likeness of a fruit bat in flight.” 3

In folklore, bats are associated with demons, sorcery, and witchcraft, a link reinforced by the fact that the bat carries disease, and like the sorcerer, can make its victims ill. 4

There is a “common connection of bats, darkness, and death.” 5

A bat is known as the "Guardian of the Night." 6

Fruit bats have been found to act as reservoirs [carriers] for a number of diseases which can prove fatal to humans and domestic animals, but the bats themselves sometimes have no signs of infection. 7

The fruit bat is a CARRIER of diseases and is immune to the diseases.


Notice the predominant color of gold inside of the glass of Bacardi rum.  This color gold is of great significance for this advertisement.

The color Gold implies wealth and status in every culture. 8

This is the first implication concerning the color gold in this advertisement.  However, there is a deeper meaning to the color gold as utilized in this ad.

Our reverence for Gold goes back to the ancient Egyptian, Mayan and Aztec cultures who embraced the transmuting qualities of Gold in their spiritual practices and Rites of Passage. Gold typified eternity, illumination (the Sun glorified), beauty and splendor. 9

Concerning ancient Egyptian culture, “royal death masks or burial masks such as were made of gold in the image of the deceased.”  10

The death mask was not made of gold just as a sign of the immense wealth of the pharaoh. “Gold was also believed to have a magical potency containing significant religious properties. Gold did not tarnish or deteriorate. But more importantly gold shone like the sun god and was therefore credited with the powers of the sun god. Gold was therefore referred to as the 'Flesh of the Gods'.” 11


Now look closely at this area of the Bacardi ad and see if you can locate the image of a golden skull in the glass of rum:

Here is the area where the golden skull is located:

Here is a comparison of the golden skull:

Here is an isolated picture of the golden skull:


According to author Craig Soderholm, "In almost every example of subliminal techniques it is important to notice that while ads use both photographs and artwork, agencies and advertisers will more often spend literally hundreds of times the cost of a photograph to instead use a painted representation.  The reason for this is that the subliminal can be imbedded in the painting in a much more subtle, cost-efficient, and effective presentation than in a photograph." 12

Other images have been reported as being seen in this Bacardi advertisement:  bull’s head, rabbit, bat, fox, and a skull.


Notice that the caption at the bottom reads, “You don’t have to mix it to like it.”  Therefore, the promotion is that Bacardi rum can be consumed straight up without being diluted with another liquid.

Also, read this part of the ad copy next to the bottle of Bacardi:

“Try it now.  While it’s on your mind.”

“Alcoholism has been recognized by the medical community as a chronic, progressive and even fatal disease.” 13

“Some doctors have begun to refer to alcoholism as "alcohol dependence syndrome". Many also state that it is a progressive disease and moves through stages. There is an early stage, which is when it might take only one or two drinks to get the cravings to stop. As it moves into the middle stage it takes more drinks to stop the cravings. Alcohol begins to have more control in the middle stages of alcoholism. Finally in end stage alcoholism, an alcoholic has no control over his or her own life. Alcohol is calling the shots.” 14

Nearly 17.6 million adults in the United States are alcoholics or have alcohol problems. 15

The top 5% of drinkers of alcohol account for 42% of the nation’s total alcohol consumption. 16

Remember that the bat is a carrier of disease. 

1 comment:

  1. I see 2 heads - a golden headed idol like a pharos mask looking to the right , and the funny gap toothed one you point out, as well as the scallop on the left side of the glass looks like a cobras head signifying the death and danger of venom.