The product was originally made from fruit spirits, flavored with rum and coconut flavoring in Curaçao. Originally, the product was used to simplify the making of piña coladas by bartenders. When the product took off, the production was then moved to Barbados where the rum is made by West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd., and the quality of the ingredients used was improved.
Past advertising campaigns labeled it "seriously easy going" and usually features people from the Caribbean taking life seriously, in a parody of the stress associated with the Western urban lifestyle, with a voice over at the end saying "If people in the Caribbean took life as seriously as this, they would never have invented Malibu. It's seriously easy going." The marketing thrust of Malibu rum has also strongly focused on marketing Malibu rum's online streaming audio station known as RadioMaliBoomBoom.com.
Since 2014, the advertising campaign has shifted toward the idea of Malibu encouraging people to have their "best summer ever" with a YouTube campaign and TV ads showing the difference between "summer you vs rest of the year you".
The original version of Malibu rum is flavored with coconut. Currently, there are 12 Malibu rum variations in the worldwide market, flavored with various tropical fruits, such as banana, pineapple, passion fruit, island melon and mango. Additionally, there is a blend with tequila and several flavored mixes with sparkling water.