Whisky brand revamps are usually non-events here on Dramming. But reading yesterday’s news that Dewar’s had ‘unveiled’ a new look for its range, this just cannot be left uncommented.
Most of you will have heard about the infamous “Meet the Baron” commercial that was retracted in December 2013 after it had caused a massive wave of complaints on social networks for being sexist. The ad depicted overweight women as undesirable and a threat to avoid at all costs. Luckily the campaign was succesful and Dewar’s deleted all traces of the spot within a day.
And now, not even four months later, the brand receives a complete overhaul. The new labels are strongly inspired by the classic design with the concave top margin reminiscent of the row of award medals which used to be prominently featured on the old bottles.
The rebranding is all about the heritage of the brand, it is a look back at the rich history of Dewar’s Scotch whisky. This effectively is a 180 degree turn away from the “The Drinking Man’s Scotch” campaign, which the Baron ad was a part of and which was only introduced in late 2012, a campaign whose philosphy culminated in the sentence
“The tweed and tradition that dominate Scotch whisky will be subverted to reintroduce DEWAR’S to a new generation of modern and urban men.”
A complete reversal of the marketing strategy after less than 18 months? A complete redesign of packaging after less than four years? This all costs serious money, and to me this looks indeed more like Dewar’s has pulled the emergency brake than like a long-planned strategy change.