RumRunners Re-branding Decision stirs controversy.

February 11, 2014 Jasmine

RumRunners Re-branding Decision stirs controversy.

For those who may not know I attend Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA located in South Georgia.

In our college town we have this “plaza” full of bars to attend on late nights that provide great drink specials and parties. The only problem is, it’s not for black people.

Yes black people can go there, despite the strict dress codes that profile the fashion of majority black men, but are we welcome?

Before any white person gets offended by this post, I’d like for you to consider the racist track record this plaza has of restricting entry of blacks, people getting drinks poured on their heads while being called a nigger, black boy getting jumped while security does little to nothing, etc. (All true & recent stories)- && if you don’t know, now you do.

It’s a KNOWN FACT that if you want to ensure the avoidance of any issues of racism and/or prejudice STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HERE. In fact, it’s something I was actually taught as a freshmen and we try to pass this down to new African Americans year after year as an FYI.
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Recently RumRunners (a bar in the plaza) revamped their sign out front. When I first saw it I was completely shocked. Not only are there 6 of the 7 confederate flag stars on the sign including on either side of Georgia, there are actually what it looks like are Confederate flags and the 10 lb parrott rifles that were used in the Civil War. Mind you the Civil War was a split of the south mainly caused by passionate disagreements over slavery. And keep in mind the South utilized slaves to tend its large “plantations”.

(All coming from a PR & Marketing Student Perspective)

When a business is being developed they usually have a market analysis where they largely consider location to reach desired customers.
-Being that the bar is across the street from the University and next door to Eagle Village Freshmen Doors It’s obvious the target is Students.

In order for a business to reach this “target” they need to consider “Positioning” which should be distinctive in portraying a consistent message.
-the message portrayed is either: (my opinion)
Message 1: Southern Pride- “There’s a sense of pride for the Old South where people tend to repress the fact that slavery was an integral part of that culture. The days of plantations, southern belles, and gentleman were built on the backs of slaves. It’s not something to be proud of, in my opinion.” – Mallory Michelle
Message 2: Symbol of Racism? (Please share your opinions)

This concept is also in relations to Market Segmentation (Targeting), which is when you divide a large market and determine who you want to target based on common needs & desires.

In my opinion this rebranding decision was them putting the message out there that this bar supports all pride behind the Civil War and its targeted to those white people who I saw hang their Confederate flags over their balconies in Campus Crossings Apartments when Obama was re-elected president.

Of course everyone does not see it this way, but think about the message it portrays!

I’m tired of Freshmen african americans talking about the bars and upperclassmen have to inform them that its not the place for them. Why do we have to still live in a world like this?

Sure we have our “black clubs” but never have I seen a logo or company brand that unwelcomed those of other races.

Bottom line I think its insensitive especially with great consideration to the blacks who love to go there. I wouldn’t quite call it a PR crisis, but there will definitely be some relationships with customers tarnished. But majority of people who go to bars are white so the idea of targeting ALL students is diminished and the segmentation is CLEAR.
Businesses in the 21 century should know the sensitiveness and controversial ties behind such issues. And by being insensitive that is telling me a clear message to STAY THE HELL AWAY.

No worries, messaged received

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chinyere's Channel  |  February 14, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I agree whole heartedly. From a PR standpoint, YOU WOULD NEVER WANT TO ASSOCIATE YOUR BUSINESS WITH SOMETHING THAT CAN TURN AWAY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. That’s PR/Marketing 101.

    The fact that the owners of Rum Runners decided to name a part of their bar “The Plantation Room,” it shows that they do not care about the feelings or revenue of black customers.

    I have always been told not to go to Rum Runners because of their racist tendencies. The whole PLAZA as a whole is racist. Me and a group of my girlfriends (all white) decided to go to Retrievers my freshman year because girls got in free. I saw all my friends get in for free and yet when I got to the door I was asked to pay $5. What could possibly be the difference where I needed to pay but four other girls didn’t?

    People who never go through this stuff or hear about it, thinks that African Americans are being dramatic but that is not the case!

    • 2. Jasmine  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      WOWW I can’t believe they asked you to pay even with your friends right there witnessing the discrimination. Luckily you are not an African American male because they would have denied you entry and then blame it on your outfit! I’m from California so I wasn’t raised around racism, both my grandparents are white and I’m mixed, though you can’t tell lol. But because I wasn’t raised around it I recognize it first hand because I know what is normal and what is blatant profiling, being prejudice, being racist, etc. I’m so tired of it being something that’s OK and not seen as a big deal because if the roles were switched I KNOW the priority of progression would be taken more seriously.


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