“Not your dad’s beer”: Tuborg and Robot Food reinvent booze brand’s identity
23 Aug 2022 --- In an effort to unite and strengthen the entire brand while guaranteeing that it remains relevant for modern Danes, the UK-based agency Robot Food has updated the identity of the Danish beer company Tuborg. Early in 2022, Denmark saw the rollout of the new designs.
The head of brands at Tuborg approached the branding firm in Leeds after it won the project after a three-way pitch and worked on it all through 2021.
David Timothy, Robot Food’s managing director, says he believes the company was leveraged because Tudor wanted a new perspective on the brand. “Tuborg is a Danish cultural icon – it’s more than just a beer brand,” he remarks.
The “fællesskab” (community) concept served as the foundation for the brand positioning, which emphasized the importance of beer in bringing people from different backgrounds together. Robot Food puts the customer at the center of the new designs, and the company's promotional imagery has an unpolished, spontaneous look that promotes togetherness.
The agency also placed Tuborg’s iconic “clockman” element off-pack for the first time, using it as a lens through which to access that notion of “fællesskab.”
Keeping it cool
The goal of the brief was to increase Tuborg’s on-shelf distinctiveness and awareness while also making it more relevant to all Danes today. It was crucial for Tuborg to attract new customers into the sector while retaining its current, devoted client base.
Like many other beer brands, Tuborg was concerned that its appeal was waning, particularly among younger customers. This fits with the larger global trend among drinkers between the ages of 18 and 25 toward an attitude that is more “all or nothing” than the “little and often” strategy of previous generations.
“Lots of new drinkers or potential new drinkers are coming to the category and either choosing not to drink at all or looking at alternatives. Tuborg, like other brands, was losing favor with that demographic” Timothy elucidates. “Drinking the beer your dad drinks can feel like the antithesis of cool.”
Traditional Scandinavian design
Robot Food understood that addressing a Danish company as a British agency ultimately meant paying attention to the brand team and the customers.
“We were brought in to offer a fresh perspective and not be led by what they had before, but you’ve always got to be respectful,” says Ben Brears, Robot Food creative director.
“A great client is one who’s really open and listens to what you’re saying and loves to be challenged, but who knows the consumer really well and helps you find that sweet spot. For some, these changes might seem minimal, but it was never about throwing the baby out with the bath water. The assets and system we’ve been able to establish help set Tuborg up for a really progressive future”.
Since Tuborg hadn’t experienced a comprehensive brand makeover in decades, there had been a conglomeration of many styles present across various goods, packs, touchpoints, sizes and variants.
“There’s a sense of classicism in Denmark: if you look at the fundamentals of things like furniture design, the style and aesthetic doesn’t really change much over time,” says Brears. “You do it once, do it well, then just polish it a little bit.”
The difficulty Robot Food faced with Tuborg was negotiating a variety of design aspects to which different consumers had different reactions.
The Robot Food team started by deconstructing the existing Tuborg designs by examining everything from forms to colors to typefaces to where to place various design elements to the architecture of individual labels. Eventually, they reduced everything to a “kit of parts.”
After it had been disassembled, Robot Food considered which components to emphasize and which to eliminate in order to make the design more straightforward and to bring out the characteristics that were the most powerful, identifiable and iconic.
Placing the parent in the picture
The updated packaging aligns with the company’s “clockman” device, a well-known symbol in Denmark, in an effort to highlight Tuborg as a “proud parent brand,” as Timothy puts it. The organization also unveiled a revised version of the Tuborg wordmark, which was made with the aid of typographer Rob Clarke.
“By consistently applying these two assets we created headroom to express the individuality and often longstanding personality of each beer, whilst never losing the link to the parent brand,” says Timothy.
The basic lineup of Tuborg consists of four core beers – Grøn, Classic, Guld, and Nul – as well as two seasonals – Julebryg and Paskebryg (Christmas brew and easter brew). Together, Grøn (or “green,” the regular lager) and Classic account for about 88% of Tuborg’s sales.
Robot Food also plans to introduce three new line expansions in the near future: Nul Fruit, Grøn Organic, and Guld Passionfruit.
By Mieke Meintjes
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