The emergence of craft brewing and our changing habits (drinking less and differently) meant that the traditional big boys of the lager category were struggling to stay relevant to consumers. Carling initially addressed this challenge by attempting to premiumise their brand. But this hadn’t stemmed the decline, and in the process, the brand had also managed to lose some of its core equities.
Carling still had a role to play up and down the country, but it needed to go back to doing what it did best; being a simple, uncomplicated beer that stood at the heart of communities and brought them together in a way none of the other mainstream lager could. The brand needed to be simple, yet proud, reinforcing its traditional values of being genuine, dependable and unpretentious.
We started off by bringing back the brand's core equity, the black label. A strong and distinctive symbol that would help reignite memory structures around the brand. But we didn’t just bring it back, we reinvented it. Removing it from the wordmark allowed it to become iconic and disruptive on both the shelf and the bar. Alongside this, we also paid homage to the notion of communities, by celebrating Carling’s own. The historic brewing town of Burton, where Carling is still manufactured today, is celebrated by a distinctive watermark. A new distinctive typeface and colour palette helped to modernise the brand and we united the three products with an intuitive hierarchy
This new uncomplicated design made the brand relevant again with consumers, allowing them to step away from the pretentiousness of the craft and retain their position as the UK’s original No. 1 lager. Before the new ‘Made Local’ advertising campaign went live, the brand had managed to turn double digit growth, whilst its two main competitors posted declines.