David Blecken
Apr 8, 2016

Bacardi invites 'untameable' partying at secret Tokyo house

TOKYO – House parties are rare in Japan for a number of reasons, but most obvious is the relatively small size of the average living space. Bacardi has offered to remedy that with a purpose-built branded party house.

The competition to party at the Rum-Hi house will run until 9 May
The competition to party at the Rum-Hi house will run until 9 May

The ‘Rum-Hi House’ is a converted traditional house known as a kominka. It features a dance floor, DJ booth and bar, as well as bowling facilities and a bathroom specially kitted out for foam parties.

The concept, developed by BBDO Japan, aims to promote Bacardi’s new highball cocktail, made of rum, soda and lemon, and convey its brand philosophy of being ‘Untameable’.

To stand a chance to party at the house, groups must number more than 20 and be over the age of 20. Other than that, the offer is apparently open to anyone, including foreign visitors. People are invited to apply via a dedicated site. The site is only in Japanese, meaning the group representative must at least have a grasp of the language. The winning punters will be selected by a lottery.

The application deadline is 9 May, and the party itself will take place on 28 May. 

Takenori Hashimoto, creative director at BBDO Japan, said the location of the house is a secret, but “somewhere around Tokyo”. He explained the idea was to encourage Japanese revelers to lose their inhibitions while giving them a feeling of mystery and excitement. This video gives a sense of what to expect.

“The challenge was that Japanese people don’t easily enjoy ‘untameable’ spirit and do extraordinarily exciting parties like Westerners,” Hashimoto said.

Anyone who has stepped over Tokyo salarymen passed out on the street in the early hours of the morning could argue that the Japanese do in fact know how to party quite well. But the point about house parties being difficult to stage is valid.

“Japanese homes are too small and close to the house next door,” Hashimoto continued. “It is difficult to play music loudly…our idea was inspired by the Japanese housing problem. The concept is unique to Japanese circumstances in that sense.”

 
 

Bacardi is prepared to run the risk of the party becoming too wild. “Of course, there are minimum rules,” Hashimoto said. “For example, don’t break stuff, don’t drink too much, and so on. But we don’t aim to regulate the applicants. Our aim is to liberate them from stereotypes and [let] them enjoy the party freely and tremendously.”

Campaign’s view: The idea of a brand sponsoring people to party with almost total freedom, in an exotic setting, is difficult to argue with. The house looks great and the perfect backdrop for sharing images of debauchery on social media. Of course, making it available for hire on an ongoing basis rather than as a one-off would take this to another level, but it's a good example of PR-thinking from an ad agency. Were this in the US, we would be more than a bit worried about the place getting trashed—but this is Japan. Still, the not-drinking-too-much rule seems a tad unrealistic.

CREDITS

Client: Bacardi
Agency: BBDO Japan
ECD: Masaki Honda
CD: Takenori Hashimoto
AD: Tsuyoshi Oyama, Shuichi Narita
Producer: Tetsushi Kondo
Production manager:Tadashi Bise
Director: Yuki Mondo
Cameraman: Tetsuya Kondo
Art: ENZO
Lighting: Mizoguchi
Music: Michinobu Takarada

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