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MillerCoors' Sol brews up a sunny redesign

A vibrant new look for Sol beer packaging incorporates the brand’s iconic heritage, sunrays, and old Mexico signage to build appeal and stand out from the competition.

A vibrant new look for Sol beer packaging incorporates the brand’s iconic heritage, sunrays, and old Mexico signage to build appeal and stand out from the competition.
A vibrant new look for Sol beer packaging incorporates the brand’s iconic heritage, sunrays, and old Mexico signage to build appeal and stand out from the competition.

Consumers face an onslaught of brands in the beer aisle, so when they’re searching for cold brews, packaging can deliver differentiation and shelf appeal.

MillerCoors knows that well. So when it recently relaunched the Mexican import brand Sol, it partnered with Chicago-based brand agency Soulsight to redesign a vibrant new look and feel that stands out amongst the competition and further solidifies the brand as a high-premium offering.

Steeped in 119 years of history, the Sol brand was inspired by a ray of sunlight streaming through a hole in the brewery’s roof. Drawing upon this moment of inspiration, the brewmaster created a refreshing, lighter-bodied lager to differentiate itself from the darker beers of the era.

With so much history behind the global brand, Soulsight’s creative team had to master the fine balance of repositioning and modernizing it with fresh energy, while retaining its iconic heritageto ensure the redesign didn’t alienate existing brand loyalistscomprising 21- to 29-year-old consumers.

“We had a lot of conversations about how to capture the spirit of this brand, and the main touchpoints we kept coming back to [were] the old signage around Mexico—the old tin signs and the murals,” explains Graham Ebetsch, Soulsight’s Senior Design Director. “We wanted to leverage the brand’s heritage in a really meaningful way to create a strong sense of place by drawing out the colors and vibrancy of the heart of Mexico.”

The initial step included taking stock of which core equities to carry into the new look and feel. Soulsight identified two of the most prominent and recognizable design elements conveying the brand’s personality: its bold red script and sun graphic. The team worked to clean up the on-pack communication, then refined the brand mark to be more appealing and approachable.

Applying a meaningful treatment of the sun iconography—a visual representation of the Spanish word “Sol”—gives the brand a sense of placement with the sun shifted lower. Another touch here is the use of more vibrant rays radiating across the pack to illuminate the script. A brighter color palette replaces the previous black-and-white-dominated background, lending a fresher, more optimistic feel.

“We’re bringing back the sun to Sol,” says the company’s Marketing Manager Elizabeth Hitch. “With the brand having such a rich, consistent design history, it would be a total miss if we did not restore its heritage-inspired iconography and bring it back to the U.S. for this relaunch.The idea was to connect with consumers with a message rooted in authenticity and optimism. The new packaging is the first step in making that connection.”

Beyond using the sun as a nod to the authenticity of Sol’s Mexican heritage, medallions placed at the bottom of the pack and the top of the cans serve as credibility cues through astylized interpretation of the gold medals awarded to the beer around the turn of the century. New on-pack messaging adds clarity in communicating that this is an authentic Mexican lager orCerveza, Original de Mexico.

The refreshed design applies to all of Sol’s offerings, including bottles, 12-oz cans, and single-serve 24-oz cans as well as six-pack and 12-pack cartons. Additional global applications of the rebrand include an on- and off-premise look and feel, in-store POS, and interactive consumer experiences at festivals and events, as well as holiday rollouts slated for 2019.

Watch a MillerCoors: Sol (Pilsen Tour) video here.

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