Strongbow Design & Branding STRONGBOW GOLD by Bulletproof Design

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Industry Beers and Ciders, Alcohol-free beer and Ciders
Media Design & Branding
Market United Kingdom
Agency Bulletproof Design
Creative Director Nick Rees
Released April 2011

Credits & Description

Category: ii. Core FMCG
Advertiser: HEINEKEN
Product/Service: ALCOHOLIC CIDER
Founding Partner: Gush Mundae (Bulletproof)
Creative Director: Nick Rees (Bulletproof)
Account Manager: Joanna Buist (Bulletproof)
Global Marketing Manager: Steven Greaves (Heineken)
Global Cider Manager: Karen O'Neill (Heineken)
Media placement: 30cl Bottle - Bars - 1st May 2011
Media placement: 4 x 30cl bottle pack - Supermarkets - 21st April 2011
Media placement: 50cl bottle - Supermarkets - 15th April

Describe the brief from the client
Develop a visual identity for the Strongbow Gold concept including graphics and structure across packaging. Heineken wanted a brand that was reminiscent of the mother brand but could be extended to international markets where cider was unknown.

The key challenges were to:
- Create a visual identity for Strongbow Gold allowing it to confidently lead a new category across markets
- Appeal to younger drinkers who are functionally driven by easier drinking products
- Appeal to males, but not alienate females

Overall it should be: Tantalising (Mouth Watering); Interruptive (Distinctive), High Quality, a leader, confident, dynamic & engaging.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
The challenge was to create a cider brand that would resonate globally. The Strongbow brand had little meaning outside the UK, and where it had meaning, this meaning tended to be negative. Many parts of the world are unaware of the existence of cider, and in countries where cider is consumed the ‘cider concept’ range from a non-alcoholic drink to a cheap champagne substitute.

There was a great deal of work to do to (re)make Strongbow into a credible LAD (long alcoholic drink) that can contend with the beer and RTD (ready to drink) powerhouse brands of the world.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
Well we compared apples with apples!

Our semiotic code exploration and deconstruction led to liquid gold thinking and a design success formula: premium presentation + top-notch taste + modern masculinity, to inform and guide our design.

Fusing the ingredient aspect of cider with the unique brand equities of Strongbow, we created a distinctive new bottle structure and visual identity system for the new global brand Strongbow Gold which feels contemporary yet trusted. The new structure captures the authenticity of the cider press whilst marrying a balanced and beautiful form, refreshing the way a global audience engages with Strongbow Gold…simple!

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market

8 months post launch in Italy, scores for awareness, penetration, distribution and trial exceeded all targets. Researched Italian consumers considered the packaging as "elegant, stylish and modern''; particularly liking "the transparent glass, clashing yellow cider and black label giving it cues of a strong personality, a sense of modernity and outlines a product with a well-defined taste".*

After the December launch in Hungary 824 consumers were surveyed: "The vast majority of testers 93% liked the package of Strongbow Gold, 61% of them liked it very much".**

*Source: Gfk Eurisko CPT -Italy, Dec 2011
**Source: Sample Central Research -Budapest, Feb 2012