There’s a couple of ways that packaging design can successfully fit within the marketing mix: replicatory (the pack conveys the same messages about the brand as ATL comms) and complementary (the pack has a slightly different message to the rest of the marketing mix, but one which fits together to present a brand with depth and richness).

When we worked on Ballantine’s Finest, our initial round of research revealed that the pack was at risk of going down a third route: contradictory. The pack was beginning to date, and was starting to feel at odds with the contemporary feel of the brand’s Plan B campaign around ‘leaving an impression’. In short, it was becoming more “Granddad’s cupboard” than nightclub backbar shelves, as one respondent put it.

Before: The previous Ballantine's Finest pack felt at odds with its ATL communications
Before: The previous Ballantine’s Finest pack felt at odds with its ATL communications

So began work to redress the balance between ‘heritage’ and ‘contemporary edge’. After an examination of the current pack’s visual equities revealed a flexibility to change, an exploration of initial creative directions – ranging from evolutionary to revolutionary –  identified how far the new design needed to push to achieve the brand’s aims. With the right degree of ‘stretch’ pinned down, a second stage of research across six markets evaluated more finished design routes, resulting in a winning design upon which we recommended a series of adjustments to optimise the design for launch.

The resulting design, by Air Innovation, extends the previous label’s ‘wings’ to create a distinctive chevron which forms a striking silhouette on backlit bars and – over time – has potential to become a new icon for the brand. In combination with structural adjustments that stiffen the shoulders and ’embed’ the label in the bottle, the change retains the brand’s authenticity whilst injecting the missing contemporaneity.

The new pack outperformed highest expectations in the quant research that followed our qual, and was amongst the best the quant agency had ever seen for new packaging. It seems we’ve helped create a pack that really does ‘leave an impression’.

The new bottle performed very well in consumer research tests within our key markets and outperformed our highest expectations. It was acknowledged by those tested as being confident and modern without losing its heritage and quality cues.

Peter Moore
Brand Director, Chivas Brothers

Ballantine's Finest new designBallantine's Finest new design