The New Old Milwaukee

So, if Superbowl television ads are out. What’s left? What’s going to give a brewery the most impact for their money? Packaging. It’s the most consistently visible piece of branding available. It’s actually in the consumers’ hands, and needs to be effective at communicating the brand story, encouraging brand trial, and differentiating itself from the competition.

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The impact of strategic packaging design can’t be underestimated. Sleeman Brewing set out to capitalize on the steady growth of value-priced beer in Canada by updating the packaging for their Old Milwaukee beer brand in an attempt to better compete directly against Budweiser, the biggest mainstream beer brand in the market, for younger consumers. The challenge was to do it through creating a new strategic design without the big-budget media dollars that Budweiser boasts. Their solution was to redesign the packaging in a Vargas-style pinup-girls theme to engage a younger beer-buying audience while recognizing Old Mil’s historical relevance and keep long-time customers. A primary color palette was also used, keeping the look simple, clean and focused on the important elements.

The new packaging was an instant hit, resulting in brand growth of 40% to 50% in some markets within just a few months of its release.*

There were plenty of risks. A worry was that it might not have the impact they hoped for, or that the new direction might alienate some of their more conservative older drinkers. But, leveraging the brand’s long history with the style kept the credibility they needed while appealing to the younger, new consumer.

It wasn’t about spending a lot of money on advertising or events. It was about an awareness of the brand’s legacy, understanding motivations of current consumers, and applying strategic direction through good design to reach a new market.

The folks at Studio2 are experts at integrating brands with strategic design. They know the importance of well designed packaging and know how to create a direct impact on sales.

Despite what your mother has told you your entire life… looks are important!

* Packaging World – May 14