What a Beast!

The Kraken® Rum is one of those rare brands that launched with a brand story and packaging design as the main focus. Most breweries and distilled spirits companies try to rely on the nature of their ingredients, or described flavor, to set them apart. The Kraken, a new entrant to the market and unknown player, was different. Its brand name, bold aesthetic, unique double-handled bottle and strong hand-etched illustrations were designed to create a memorable brand that, without question, stands out from others on the shelf.

This brand moved the conversation beyond flavors or ingredients, something that most brands feel themselves handcuffed to. The deliberate partnership between the expert distillers and the expert branding firm created a unique story of the rum; a mythic tale of sea creatures and legendary adventure. A memorable brand story more enticing to a consumer than “trying different flavors.” It was a creation that could not have happened without that partnership.

On the shelves, the illustration style of the label and supportive design of the bottle was a huge hit with the targeted audience. The design transcended the bottle into merchandising. However, it’s evolution didn’t simply stop at t-shirts and coasters. It extended to housewares and bar accessories, even an app available on iTunes. The Kraken print wallpaper is maybe one of the coolest things available…a brand so strong that people want to be surrounded by it. Awesome!

This constant dedication to the brand is also evident in its copyrighting. Clever phrases like “fall-off-the-edge-of-the-Earth accuracy” are a staple. There are always references to the 19th century-level nautical science or myth. The persona is consistent and fun. More than anything, it’s the spirit of humor and enjoyment that captures people. The brand is making a deliberate, strategic effort to stand out from the competition and it is working.

The Kraken Rum story should put a smile on the face of every brewmaster. It’s a perfect example of how a strategic partnership between producer and brand expert can cut through the clutter and create a product more successful than the sum of its ingredients.