Robot Food has refreshed the branding for Danish beer brand Tuborg, working to unify and strengthen the entire brand world to ensure its relevance for Danes today.
The Leeds-based strategic branding agency was contacted by Tuborg’s head of brands in September 2020, winning the project following a three-way pitch and working on it throughout 2021. “I think we were in there because they wanted a new perspective on the brand,” says David Timothy, Robot Food Managing Director. “Tuborg is a Danish cultural icon — it’s more than just a beer brand.”
Tuborg’s core range comprises four core beers (Grøn, Classic, Guld, and Nul) and two seasonals (Julebryg and Paskebryg) as standard, and Robot Food also worked on designs for three new range extensions: Nul Fruit, Grøn Organic, and Guld Passionfruit. Grøn (or ‘green’, the standard lager) and Classic together equate to around 88% of Tuborg’s sales.
Not just for dads
Like many beer brands, Tuborg had concerns that it was losing relevance — especially among younger consumers. This chimes with the broader global trend among drinkers aged 18-25 of a more “all or nothing” mentality rather than the “little and often” approach of older generations.
“Lots of new drinkers or potential new drinkers are coming to the category and either choosing not to drink at all or looking at alternatives. Tuborg, like other brands, was losing favour with that demographic” said Timothy. “Drinking the beer your dad drinks can feel like the antithesis of cool.”
Classic Scandinavian design values
Prior to this refresh, Tuborg hadn’t undergone a holistic brand refresh for decades, which had led to something of a mishmash of different styles across individual products, packs, touchpoints, sizes, and variants.
“There’s a sense of classicism in Denmark: if you look at the fundamentals of things like furniture design, the style and aesthetic doesn’t really change much over time” says Ben Brears, Robot Food Creative Director. “You do it once, do it well, then just polish it a little bit.”
Robot Food’s challenge with Tuborg was in navigating numerous different design elements that had varying degrees of resonance with consumers.
Initially, the Robot Food team set about ‘deconstructing’ the incumbent Tuborg designs, looking at everything from shapes to colours, fonts, placement of design elements, and the architecture of individual labels, going on to boil everything down to a ‘kit of parts’.
Once deconstructed, Robot Food examined which elements to amplify and which to pare back to create simplicity and ensure that the strongest, most recognisable and iconic elements came to the fore.
A prouder Tuborg flag
The brand world needed to unite the various Tuborg ranges under a prouder Tuborg flag that felt more relevant to modern consumers, while allowing each range to be expressive and distinct to its individual usage occasion.
The brand positioning was based around the idea of “fællesskab”, or community, with the beer shown to play a vital role in uniting people from all walks of life.
The agency also took the brand’s iconic ‘clockman’ asset off-pack for the first time, putting it at the heart of the Tuborg universe and using it as a lens through which to access that sense of “fællesskab”With the ‘clockman’ in place as a unifying and consistent brand element on- and off-pack, Robot Food then worked to amplify the personality of each beer, dialling up the nuances in activations and image styles appropriate to each beer variant.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”
Robot Food was aware that as a British agency approaching a Danish icon, ultimately it was about listening to the brand team and the consumers themselves.
“We were brought in to offer a fresh perspective and not be led by what they had before, but you’ve always got to be respectful” says Brears. “A great client is one who’s really open and listens to what you’re saying and loves to be challenged, but who knows the consumer really well and helps you find that sweet spot. For some, these changes might seem minimal, but it was never about throwing the baby out with the bath water. The assets and system we’ve been able to establish helps set Tuborg up for a really progressive future”.
“The past two-ish years have been some of my best at Carlsberg. From the first pitch to where we are today, Robot Food’s understanding of our local needs and vulnerabilities, dedication, craft, and (most importantly) sense of humour have made the process such a joy,” said Louise Dandanell, Marketing Manager at Tuborg Denmark. “It’s very easy for us to be happy clients – every meeting is like spending time with family.”
The new designs began to roll out in Denmark for the core brands from early 2022, and the rest of the packaging designs and brand world elements such as the new photography style, point of sale materials, advertising, and merchandise are currently being rolled out.