Malibu's Best Summer Ever takes YouTube by storm

February 2015

Malibu wanted to make their brand more relevant to twenty-something millennials so they created The Best Summer Ever Project, an original content series that launched on YouTube and was supported by a targeted TrueView campaign. The campaign produced more than 10 million YouTube channel views with a total watch time of 10 years in the first six weeks.


Created original series for Malibu’s YouTube channel

Launched TrueView campaign

Used YouTube targeting by audience interest and demographic


Increase brand awareness, relevance and buzz

Reach and engage target audience of Millennials


Six-week campaign produced more than 10 million YouTube channel views

YouTube channel subscribers increased by 765% in first week of the series

Total watch time for series surpassed 10 years within six weeks

Uplift of 2% in top of mind brand awareness

Malibu summer buzz on social media increased by 270%

Malibu is an original Caribbean coconut rum, but the brand faced a growing problem in that it was not seen to be relevant among young 20-something Millennials. Malibu turned to the agency AnalogFolk to help get the brand back on track with a new global campaign.

A thirst for authentic content

AnalogFolk understood that conventional advertising would not succeed in reaching these young target consumers. "To shift the brand from monologue mode to dialogue mode, we decided we needed to think as much about how to communicate as to what to communicate," explains Neil Bennett, a Strategy Director at AnalogFolk. "We created a platform called The Best Summer Ever Project, and with the help of Malibu drinkers compiled the ultimate bucket list of things to do."

Malibu's #BestSummerEver list featured over 200 brilliant summer experiences. A distinctive launch video and original social media content invited people to get involved by answering the question "What's on your #BestSummerEver List?" A premium YouTube page housed the definitive list, which was presented as a fun tool where consumers could browse for inspiration and share their top summer activities.

The campaign was built around an original YouTube series. "We cast five strangers from around the world and sent them on a 40-day trip around Europe and the US," says Sina Neubrandt, Malibu's Global Marketing Manager for Content & Community. "Travelling in a cool retro campervan, these were real people on an epic journey." To inspire and build dialogue with the YouTube community, the cast was tasked with tackling the #BestSummerEver list and capturing every moment with a small crew, GoPros, a couple of SLR cameras and their mobile phones.

Appealing to the target audience depended on maintaining authenticity, so setups were kept to a minimum. The cast took a vlogging-style approach to encourage audience interaction via video comments and social media. The best videos were then distributed to a wider audience through a YouTube TrueView campaign targeted by interest and demographic. Local markets extended The Best Summer Ever Project into local competitions and activations in trade environments, all designed to give Malibu drinkers the chance to experience the best summer ever themselves.

The toast of the season

The six-week campaign produced 33 million impressions across all channels and saw Malibu evolve from brand to content creator, generating over 200 pieces of original content including more than 50 videos for the Malibu YouTube channel.

Channel subscribers increased by 765% in the first week of the show, while total watch time for Malibu's YouTube series surpassed 10 years in just six weeks _ twice the expected watch time for the period. Videos of up to six minutes in length were achieving completion rates as high as 25%, with viewers even begging for longer episodes.

Marketing via TrueView was a significant factor in the campaign's success. "The quality of content combined with a well-oiled media optimisation on a week-by-week basis allowed us to bring down the cost per view to unprecedented industry lows and to produce industry-leading view-through and response rates, making TrueView a truly cost-efficient and effective media outlet to bring our target audience into the content platform."

Following the campaign, Sina reports that Malibu's brand awareness, relevance and sales are up. "The Best Summer Ever Project helped contribute to a 270% increase in buzz versus last year, with mentions of "óMalibu and summer' up from 25% to 66%." Malibu is now keen to build on this momentum. "This was the first step in building the video strategy for the brand," Sina says. "We've since continued to build the story with edits of the best bits from summer 2014, and have broadened the channel to include more content such as how-to drink videos. But the best thing is the Best Summer Ever Project returns with a bang in summer 2015."

Building a brand in an age of hyper-targeted messaging