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Designed by Ziggurat Brands, United Kingdom.

Bottlegreen: balancing restrained elegance with on-shelf stand-out

The Bottlegreen story is a famous example of how branding can produce commercial results. Venture capitalists put in £4.5m to this cordial company, worked with branding agency Ziggurat Brands to build a brand that conveys the product’s unique properties to consumers, and just three and a half years later those venture capitalists exited the business with £20m.

Could it replicate that success with its new range of Elderflower and Pomegranate flavoured tonic waters? Could the brand make the transition across categories, from sparkling soft drink to mixer?

And crucially could it achieve standout in the crowded bar fridge and in the competitive off-trade tonic market?

“Our design needed to achieve a great deal,” says Dan Kimmins, Design Director at Ziggurat Brands. “It needed to retain the naturally stylish look of the Bottlegreen brand and be recognised by consumers whilst at the same time clearly differentiating the tonic from Bottlegreen Sparkling, which comes in similar sized bottles. What is more it had to get noticed in busy, crowded environments.”

The introduction of a gold foil brand marque held within a cocktail stirrer immediately captures attention. The fridge behind a bar is often a dark place, so the Ziggurat team took the bottles to a local pub to test out which whites and gold finishes would be most visible.

A first glance at this tonic water suggests a bottle shape that is very familiar to Bottlegreen’s cordial customers. It is elegant. It is restrained. While the flower stem anchoring the ‘O’ and the ‘G’ in the Bottlegreen logo has been replaced with a cocktail stirrer, this is still not a mixer that is loud, or brash. Rather it is hinting at the retro glamour of sophisticated cocktail bars and clinking glasses.

The subliminal associations with a familiar brand are there, but there can be no chance consumers will mistake this for the parent brand. The team took the bold move to abandon the green bottles for which the brand is known, and put the tonic in a clear bottle.

Elegant typography makes it abundantly clear that this is tonic water. Then, a blush of green or pink colour behind the words ‘elderflower’ or ‘pomegranate’ lifts that text and lets drinkers know what flavours to expect.

The tonic launched in June 2013. It is already listed in Sainsbury and Tesco, and sold in Fullers pubs and high-end gin bars.