Can Budweiser’s radical new look help turn around the brewer’s fortunes?

Budweiser has undergone its most major face-lift in its 140-year history and updated its entire visual identity, at a time when the brewer is hoping to turn around falling sales in a sector increasingly dominated by consumer’s appetite for craft beer.

The brewer worked with Jones Knowles Ritchie worked to overhaul its packaging, typography and logo in a global rebrand – a first for Budweiser – which said it needed to marry the effort it put into its product with the look of its brand and storytelling.

“It was really a quality brief: how do we look to what we imagine we should be,” Jones Knowles Ritchie creative director Tosh Hall told The Drum.

“Budweiser in the mind is not equal to Budweiser in the hand and so that was really our job. When you close your eyes you imagine a brand that is iconic and has been around for 140 years and you see all these wonderful things and you can imagine all this branding and typography but at the moment when you have it in your hand, whether in the US or other parts of the world, those are not consistent and it didn’t live up to that image we had in our mind”.

The Budweiser ‘bow tie’ has evolved along with the introduction of two newly created typefaces, Bud Bold and Bud Crafted, which were inspired by the industrial lettering that featured on the original brewery, and from the 1960s Budweiser wordmark, respectively.

Budweiser will no doubt be hoping the new look will help reverse its current fortunes. In July last year the CEO of parent company AB InBev Carlos Alves de Brito admitted, “we still have a long way to go” to stabilise the brand, which saw a sharp drop in profit in its second quarter last year from $12.2bn to $11.1bn.

But despite Budweiser’s trendy new look having similarities to newer craft beer identities, Hall said the rebrand is about communicating the brand history and staying true to its roots.

“Instead of doing design for the sake of it, or decoration, or following trends our mission is to find what makes it unique and distinctive and tell your story well.

“And so it is about communicating what we are about, which is just to tell the Budweiser story. Being who you are is key and this design reflects that, we have so much equity and history and quality, the label and the script, and the seal – it’s a part of the culture so being us again will help tell our story that’s what we’ve been doing over the last few years, it’s not to try to follow trends or be someone, this was just about who are we.”

Jones Knowles Ritchie has also sharpened up the look of sister brand Bud Light and with a very blue packaging design to attract modern drinkers.

The new packaging for Budweiser will roll out from February, while Bud Light will debut with an ad during the Super Bowl and hit the shelves in April.

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