Thursday, March 19, 2009

More programs, greater reach

The Oregon Brewers Festival made changes to their pricing scheme this week that will result in far greater reach for advertisers. Here is the post on the Facebook page:

Admission into the festival grounds if free, as always. In order to taste beer, you must now purchase a taster package. Taster packages are available in $10, $20 and $50 increments. All packages include a 2009 souvenir mug, which is required for consuming beer (mugs from previous years will not be filled); a souvenir program that includes a map of where the beers are located onsite; and various quantities of tokens, which are used to purchase beer.

Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug of beer, or one token for a taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1 apiece in whatever amount you wish.

Here's the packages offered:

$10 package: one mug, one program, four tokens
$20 package: one mug, one program, 14 tokens
$50 package: two mugs, two programs, 38 tokens

There will be no more individual purchasing of mugs - you want a mug, you buy a package. But mugs are still good throughout the weekend, you'll just buy more tokens. This should speed up the admission lines considerably.

The reason you are getting more tokens in the $20 and $50 packages is that we are reducing the size of our program and printing one for everybody, so the program price is dropping from $4 to $1. That means three more tokens per package, plus everyone will have access to beer descriptions, the hop-o-meter, and the map of the taps.

You can join the discussion here or there. The Facebook page can be found at: Facebook Price Discussion

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brand development, accelerated

Marketers like to wax philosophic about the value of doing the difficult, but necessary work of understanding the audience, defining the brand characteristics, messages, etc. before ever associating an image with a product. In the often compressed time frames of product development and product launch, one has to work quickly. Or, there are times when the right image just plain suits the product and there is no reason to slow down.

A close friend and nationally published illustrator, Bill Cigliano, provides illustration to publishers and advertisers seeking a unique visual perspective. In the case of beverage packaging, existing and commissioned work has brought impact to craft beer brands.

"On Hop-Ocalypse, my art is used on that one specific brew and that happened because I had an existing painting of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud that appealed to them. I think it’s a really distinctive label and package, quite attractive and I like being part of that," Bill said. The client, Clay Pipe Brewing Co in western Maryland, serves a small, but growing market in and around the Chesapeake Bay area.

Hop-Ocalypse and its visual identity occupy that place where a striking image provides exactly the right emotion for the product. In this case, the product name and the illustration have obvious connections. The image, already in the artist's portfolio, found another life with beer, a happy marriage.

For the Captain Lawrence brand, Cigliano created an enhanced image that could be carried across an entire product line. This approach, common visual identity across products and packages, enables the brand, regardless of the product, to be easily identifiable to the consumer. (The exception in this product line is their Belgian-style summer ale.)
In these cases, exciting imagery matched marketing expectations. The many questions appropriate to brand and product development were answered, perhaps intuitively, before the images were selected or commissioned. Regardless, they work for their respective owner/brewers and contribute to the interesting body of work in brewing and beer art.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Package and label expertise

Several acquaintances, friends and relatives have agreed to provide you with their insights into package and label design. Perhaps more broadly, their experience can lead to even greater value for those seeking a differentiated brand in the growing craft beer market.

I have invited three designers and artists with diverse backgrounds to comment on the following questions. I will let them speak for themselves as their answers are posted here, but let me introduce them briefly.

Dean Lindsay: Dean has many years of experience in package design and in food package design in particular. There is plenty to see and learn from his website.

Holly O'Leary: Holly is a talented designer and illustrator with experience in food packaging and is currently working on another favorite beverage, coffee. Her portfolio is available here.

Paul Mort: Paul works with clients across a range of design disciplines. You can reach Paul at Felt Hat.

The questions submitted to Dean, Holly and Paul are:

1. Describe the process for developing a good package design. What steps do you take with a client and in what order?

2. How do you incorporate existing brand identity, i.e. logos, color, typography, into a package or label design?

3. Do you treat package design differently than you would an overall brand and identity scheme for a client?

4. What considerations, other than legal requirements, do you see as unique for beverage package design, and in particular, beer package design?

5. What impact does the package as a physical entity have on the overall design? For example, when do you recommend a special bottle or can vs. a graphical treatment of a standard bottle?

6. For you, what makes a great package and/or label for a beverage?

7. For some brewers, making the step from draft beer to packaged beer is a big one involving significant investments. What weight, in terms of time and budget, should a brewer put on the package and/or label design?

8. When do you know it’s time for a new design?

9. In your opinion, what are three particularly interesting package or label designs?

The questions are not exhaustive, but should give you some workable ideas about the use of packaging and labeling as a way to differentiate your products. If you have questions you would like to submit, just add them in the comment boxes below.

A fanciful look at beer brands

The New York Times reported on efforts to reduce binge drinking and the fallout from those efforts. While there is no reasonable argument to increase alcohol problems, the illustrations of beer coasters from the article is humorous.