On reading Sonoo Singh’s article about the planned comeback of Mateus Rosé and its attempt to “appeal to modern drinkers” (MW last week), I couldn’t help thinking that we’ve been here before.
In the early Nineties, another instantly recognisable drinks brand decided it was out of step with current social values and went to great lengths to realign itself and attract a new generation of drinkers. Not only did the company reposition the brand through radically different copy and communication, it also took the decision to throw away all its visual equities, including the brand colour, the bottle shape and, crucially, the “doe” brand icon. In short, it changed everything but the name.
Babycham dispensed with one of its greatest assets: its icon. In
one stroke, it almost destroyed its brand (not to mention the company that owned it).
Babycham learnt its lesson and quickly reverted to the use of its iconic ‘Bambi’ and its trademark green bottle, an almost exact replica of the original.
Ask a consumer to picture the Mateus brand and they will immediately think of the bottle and distinctive label. You can rejuvenate a brand through communication without losing the brand trigger (remember Brylcreem?).
Whatever decisions are made to determine the future of Mateus, it would be wise not to throw the baby (heritage, credibility) out with the bath-water.
Trends come and go, but great brands go on forever (usually helped by their strong, iconic identities).
Don WilliamsChief executivePi GlobalLondon W11