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Why Heineken looked to design to reposition its Mexican beer brand Tecate

Heineken has introduced a new design and identity for its popular Mexican beer brand Tecate after struggling to woo the modern Mexican drinker.

The problem the 71-year old brand faced was that it had remained loyal to its older consumers but wasn’t addressing the younger generation, so the brewer enlisted design consultancy Elmwood to work with Tecate to “re-define modern masculinity” and appeal to today’s urban Mexican man.

Speaking to The Drum Jon White, Elmwood managing director, said that design was critical to informing Tecate’s brand strategy. “This was a repositioning for them so our design was predicated upon finding that new positioning and they whole heartedly embraced that. If we hadn’t done that it’s just another set of designs, so we had to get to the root of how this brand can be distinctly different in the market place and really stand for something… that modern masculinity is an ownable place, it goes beyond design but design can inspire that”.

Elmwood introduced the new positioning ‘Now. Create the moment’ after recognising the cultural momentum in Mexico and the pride that it’s people have in the country.

Creatively, this meant understanding Tecate’s recognisable design features, how these could be utilised with the positioning and how a brand that started as one variant could now work as a cohesive and compelling family.

The brand’s Eagle mascot was given a facelift by embracing its offbeat quirk and Mexican character and puffing out the ‘T’ emblazoned chest, broadening its shoulders and placing him atop of the modernised word marque. Three new ‘Spirit Eagles’ were also developed to embody the unique personalities of the variants which include original, light and premium.

A unique, matte finish on the can was created to give it “quality and premium cues but in an everyday refreshing way,” said White.

Franco Maria Maggi, Heineken's marketing director said: “One of our team members was tasked with finding the best agency in the world to work with and came back with Elmwood. We’ve not been disappointed. Their deep insight processes combined with genuine creativity has resulted in the Tecate brand being taken to places we would never have imagined.

"Elmwood has maintained and respected the brand’s essence while delivering an identity that is fresh and powerful and will leave a mark on the brand and market for years to come.”

Two new colours – a bolder, richer Tecate ‘red’ and a refreshing Tecate ‘silver’ – were also created to modernise the iconic Tecate colour palate.

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