Project Feature

All Aboard Mateys! Pirate Ship for 2016 Summer Rum Festival Back to Portfolio

“We want a pirrrrrate ship” said the client. Our design team fell silent for a few seconds before responding with a hearty, ‘Aye!’ as big smiles spread across faces due to memories of childhood pirate ships and more recent hilarious pirate movies. Clearly, this travel Retail design project would be great fun. And when the client continued to share the brief, it was also clear this wouldn’t be just any pirate ship. Aside from authentic rigging and sails with Jolly Roger giving fair warning, this very special vessel would need a Tiki-style rum tasting bar with stock holding area, plenty of cool graphics, a wheel of fortune with prizes…and, of course, a parrot.

In fact, the Travel Retail design brief was for two custom pirate ships, each slightly different from the other in order to accommodate the different spaces at Hamburg and Frankfurt airports. This retail display was to complete the airport advertising for the Summer Rum Festival. 


​The Retail Display Design 

​It was no ordinary travel retail design project for sure – and that’s what we liked best about it. The Concourse design team created some fantastic visuals before the project team took over to figure out how to construct a four metre pirate ship and then how to get it into an airport in a single night, fully rigged.​
Strict adherence to fire certifications and considerations for limited airport access became part and parcel of the design build. And so the “old wooden” sailing vessel was constructed from fibreglass and painstakingly hand-painted in trompe l’oeil to create the amazing authenticity that can be seen in these photos…which is even more impressive in real life. All the ropes were hand made with authentic rigging-locks, carved from real wood – again, all by hand. The end result is such a realistic and sturdy ship, that our delighted clients couldn’t resist climbing on board (client’s privilege – thankfully no actual pirates to fight off after the photo shoot!)​

Alongside the centrepiece pirate ship, there was a Tiki-style tasting bar where brand ambassadors presented a full range of rums to sample. Made from real specially-treated and fire-rated bamboo, the Tiki bar provided a lovely shady spot from where to taste the many rums on offer, with customers almost able to feel a tropical breeze wafting through. In addition to enjoying the tropical setting and rum sampling, a real wheel of fortune was also on hand where lucky travellers could win a bottle of their favourite rum.

​With 20 different rums to taste and purchase on this tropical island, the area was clearly divided into distinct promotional areas for each brand. Zacapa, befitting its status, had a chic tasting area of its own, just a step away from treasure island and its famous resident Polly the parrot.

Working closely with Heinemann to ensure a smooth project, all work was completed to schedule and within budget, first at Hamburg Airport, with Frankfurt Airport installation a week later. From the ceiling graphics to the floor graphics and everything in between, no details were left out.