Yesterday I received a large package from the PR firm Edelman, the occasion being Widmer‘s rollout of their new packaging for their flagship Hefeweizen. I have to say, though, that I was just as impressed with the press kit package as anything; so I’m commenting on both.
The Press Kit
As impressed as I was with the Heineken press kit, I think this one takes it up a notch: not only did I get an entire six-pack of Hefeweizen, but also two of their "Perlsee" glasses, a lemon, the carrier (with the new design), and a bookmark with directions on how to pour Hefeweizen. Amusingly, there is also the PR letter with history and "craft beer-ese" about the beer and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to pour it (with a lemon wedge). Very well done. Check this out:
Nicely done. The only thing I would consider "missing" would be a CD-ROM with digital versions of the designs and appropriate graphics, as Heineken did, but I’m not going to quibble.
I think what impressed me the most were the addition of the glasses; if I were putting a press kit like this together, I’d probably only put one beer glass in; shows what I know, I guess. But these are some nice glasses:
I don’t know if these are part of the new design rollout or not, but they sure are snazzy.
The New Packaging
And now the topic of the press kit: Widmer’s new Hefeweizen packaging. Overall, I like it; I think it’s a definite improvement over the old design. Generally, they’ve cleaned up the label, made it less busy, streamlined the fonts and have gone with a more subtle approach to the package—emphasizing the "Widmer" name while moving the logo to the background.
You can see the large swaths of color, yellow and black, in discrete blocks with more space—reducing clutter. It’s catchier on the eye. The artwork, too, in the yellow background is subtler.
And the carrier is more usable, too! Apparently they want people to be sure to know how to "properly" pour their Hefeweizen; I can’t tell if they’re being tongue-in-cheek about it, but in case you forget, they helpfully include the step-by-step directions on the end:
I got a kick out of that. No doubt there will be people out there who will say Widmer is being overly snobbish with this, but I’m coming down on the tongue-in-cheek side. It’s not like they’re putting the directions on the bottle. Now that would be snobbish.
Finally, I figured this would be helpful: a side-by-side of the old labelling with the new. The off-color cap on the old bottle is because it’s filled with homebrew:
I definitely like the new packaging. It’s cleaner and catches the eye better, I think. You see what I was talking about, with the logo being made smaller and moved into the background? That totally works. Nothing’s lost since the logo is still there, but the label is much less busy than before and the eye is drawn to the "Widmer Hefeweizen" in the center, where you want it. And something else that occurs to me as I look at this photo again, is that the old label seems much more "megabrewery" or corporate than the new one… the new one seems more "craft beer," which is probably what they were aiming for.
I don’t know if Widmer is planning on giving all their brews the new package treatment or not (though I suspect they’ll wait and see the results of the Hefeweizen run), but I think it would work nicely.
And, since I now have Hefeweizen in my fridge, I’ll be giving it the formal review treatment, as well.