Friday Feature

Friday Feature: Havana Club

The Brief

Iconic rum brand Havana Club worked with Shuttlerock to produce a set of vibrant, high-energy Facebook & Instagram-optimized video ads in order to boost brand awareness during their “Cuba Made Me” campaign.

Using an existing TVC as a starting point, Shuttlerock’s in-house design team were tasked with recrafting the original video, adapting it to fit the mobile-first ad placements of Facebook and Instagram: Stories, In-Feed, and In-Stream. 

With a top-of-funnel awareness objective, the core aim was to dial up the branding elements in order to drive home the urban, Cuban street culture aesthetic that is so central to Havana Club’s brand identity. 

Havana Club Stories Ad Shuttlerock


Creative Breakdown

1. Strong product focus

The video ads were configured to draw attention to the Havana Club product right from the beginning. This was done through the use of stop motion along with the street-art inspired cut-out effect that directs the eye towards the product. 

Featuring the product and brand early is one the most crucial considerations when it comes to designing mobile-first video ads—especially when the creative is aimed at boosting brand awareness. This is because the view time of video ads in placements such as Stories and In-Feed tends to drop off significantly after the 3-second mark, making it crucial to showcase your brand elements within this time frame in order for them to reach the largest potential audience. 

Along with being bookmarked by product-focused visuals, the middle section of the ad showcases the product in terms of its human connection. The youthful, energetic spirit of the Havana Club brand is communicated by showing the product’s strong link to Cuban nightlife.


2. Amplified branding

Havana Club’s original TVC may have worked well to effectively communicate the brand within a “forced view”, sound-on environment. However, within Facebook’s placements (excluding In-Stream) video ads autoplay with sound disabled, and audiences have the ability to simply scroll or swipe past your ad. 

This more competitive environment means that your creative needs to work harder in order for it to land its intended message. The way to do this is to dial up your visual brand elements, accentuating their visibility in order to cut through the noise. 

To achieve this for Havana Club, Shuttlerock took certain pre-established brand elements and applied them in a heightened way. The best example of this is the border effect that is created through the repeated “Havana Club” text. This is used multiple times within the ad, drawing upon the street-art aesthetic to frame and draw attention to the imagery within.


3. Energetic pacing

The optimal duration for a brand-focused video ad on Facebook and Instagram is 15-seconds. With that in mind, one of the main challenges that arises when adapting a TVC for mobile-first placements is the need to trim the duration without losing any of the ad’s original essence or narrative. 

When adapting Havana Club’s TVC, this challenge was actually more of a blessing in disguise, as the editing techniques that were utilized out of necessity actually helped to give the ad a more energetic, vibrant feel—traits that are consistent with Havana Club’s brand identity. 

The video was interspersed with freeze frames and sections of rapid-fire static images, providing the ad with a visual rhythm that works without sound, but becomes enhanced once sound is enabled.

Havana Club Friday Feature Quote

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