A Pentagram team led by John Rushworth and Daniel Weil has designed three packaging projects for the premium Vodka brand, Grey Goose. The introduction of the packaging is one of a number of ongoing initiatives undertaken by Grey Goose’s parent company, Bacardi, to refocus the brand for its international luxury markets and build on an already impressive rise to success in the United States.
Launched in 1997, Grey Goose was created for the American market with the vision of creating the world’s best tasting Vodka. Uniquely, it was the first Vodka to be distilled in France and takes full advantage of the epicurean heritage of its base in the Cognac region, famed for its fine spirit distilling. In a process overseen by an expert Maître de Chai (cellar master), who ensures the quality and taste of the finished product, selected French wheat is distilled and blended with pure spring water that has filtered naturally through the limestone rocks of the region to produce a vodka that has won an international reputation for its purity and taste. Grey Goose was acquired by Bacardi Limited in 2004. Keen to capitalise on Grey Goose’s renown in the US, Bacardi have since invested in turning Grey Goose in to an international super-premium brand leader.
While the differences between tastes in international markets may be subtle, the luxury goods market demands distinction and refinement, and subtle differences become the defining qualities of brands. Pentagram’s objective became to make astute interventions in the design of the packaging that maintain the integrity of the international Grey Goose brand, whilst rebalancing the appeal of Grey Goose for more international luxury tastes. Three packaging opportunities were identified: A gift box for a single bottle of Grey Goose Original, a limited edition Flavours gift pack that contains a bottle of Grey Goose Original along with taster-sized bottles of the three flavoured varieties of Grey Goose, and lastly a Grey Goose Baccarat gift box containing two limited edition Baccarat lead crystal tumblers, an aspirational package that would provide the definitive expression of the Grey Goose brand.
The unique shape and finish of the Grey Goose bottle were key elements in giving the brand its visual distinction, signalling the Grey Goose difference against all other vodkas. But Pentagram recognised that the brand had to acquire other dimensions to accent its appeal to the US high-end market. In essence, it had to express the international luxury aesthetic more succinctly and more broadly. To achieve this, a number of initiatives were proposed that would drive perceptions towards a cooler, more chic prospect.
The three new special packs gave the opportunity to rebalance the Grey Goose brand language. For these, the bottle’s grey-goose silhouette was reduced in size and used to head the Grey Goose logotype set in a French-blue square. This combination complements and amplifies the distinctiveness of the bottle, while adding a level of old-world sophistication.
Supporting this new approach to the branding was the opportunity to develop a promotional design language using grey-goose associations – such as feathers, water and eggs. A more restrained colour palette was introduced, including policy on Grey Goose taking ownership of the colour grey and using it to tie in different elements of the new branding approach. The colour grey draws directly on the brand name and echoes the frosted finish of the bottles.
It also evokes purity and simplicity, considered a virtue in vodkas. The bottle’s ‘tricouleur’ graphic was retained for the pack designs, emphasising Grey Goose’s French origin.