Last week I got a press release that Arran had been through a rebrand and was getting new bottles and new labels. The new look is young and modern and reminds me a lot of Aultmore which suggests the brand is moving upmarket a little. For now there is no mention of the prices going full on Aultmore which is at least good for drinkers.
All this effort from brands is to increase market share essentially. Recent marketing reports are showing whisky drinkers are becoming younger and more diverse. With younger customers waiting to buy your product you need to stand out from the crowd and grab attention. In the past this was done by playing heavily on the Scottish connection and our wild highland landscapes.
This kind of thing worked in the 1970 and 1980’s when the United Kingdom generally had a bigger brand worldwide as well. However, sadly, the traditional whisky bottle and tartan branding doesn’t work well in a hippy bar in New York or corporate centre’s in Tokyo.
Since Mark Reynier bought Bruichladdich and sought to keep the lights on the distillery during those first 10 years with visible marketing and shenanigans increasing number of brands have looked to follow their lead.
So really Arran making another rebranding was going to be only a matter of time but it is a little disappointing that it seems to be a cookie cutter approach. I hope it achieves the sales targets they have set for the project and I do think its a step in the right direction.
However, I do wonder if it was actually easier to stop an Arran on the shelf in its older guise than its newer? Bruichladdich did a rebrand on Port Charlotte a year old and with their massive budgets they brought out a totally unique bottle shape which while not looking like it contains whisky at all does really scream at your from the shelf!
In conclusion then if we want to see traditional Scottish themed whisky branding back we are going to have to wait until being Scottish is enough to sell product. The truth is Scotland and indeed the United Kingdom isn’t the strong brand we once were.
I wonder when that changed?