Creative director Luke Johnston says Emerson’s strengths lay in its product, which has a long history as a trusted brand, and the unique personality of its founder Richard Emerson.
“We went back to the start with the brand and created a new tone of voice that was a mix of the self-depreciating ‘Dunedinite’ merged with Richard Emerson’s sense of humour.”
He adds that Emerson’s has been crafting beer since long before craft beer was a thing, and the recent explosion in the craft beer industry meant it needed to rethink its brand and its position in the market.
“The packaging was completely redesigned – while paying reference to the past and telling some of the great stories that had never been told. One of my favourites is when the profoundly deaf Richard named Bird Dog after his favourite Verlaine's song.”
Johnston says he and his team wanted to help beer drinkers navigate the massive range of craft beer available.
“This led us to develop a way of communicating the flavour of each beer, making it easier for people to navigate the Emerson’s range and explore new beers without the risk of disappointment,” says Johnston.
For Johnston, the responsibility not to disappoint was enhanced by the fact the agency also calls Dunedin home.
“It was a huge honour and an even bigger responsibility to work on this very iconic Dunedin brand,” Johnston says.
And so far so good for their work - the Emerson’s range took home Best Packaging at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards earlier this year.
Creative Direction & Design: Luke Johnston
Copywriting: Steve McCabe, Kim Fraser & Paul Hankinson
Illustration: Blair Sayer
Animation: David Way
Photography: Sam Mahayni