Heineken’s New Design Sticks Its Neck Out — Everywhere But America

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Heineken has been having fun with its package design, rolling out a special edition aluminum bottle (dubbed the STR, above) which reveals a nightclub-ready hidden design by black light.

On a more serious note, however, the Dutch beer brand unveiled a major bottle redesign on Dec. 1st. No disco trickery, no hype — and no Brad Pitt. Just a unified visual identity across the brand’s bottles and cans. With one major exception, that is.[more]

According to a press release, the restyling and transition to a longer neck with five (reduced from 15) bottle sizes is coming to the 170 markets worldwide where Heineken is available, starting with Western Europe early next year and across the rest of the world by 2012 — except in the US.

That’s because Americans said they prefer for the classic shortneck bottle, so the new longneck design will become the world standard outside America.

The new global, ex-US bottle has a longer neck with a “slight indentation where the Heineken name is displayed vertically,” notes Ad Age, which adds, “Heineken USA is sticking with the shortneck because it wanted to differentiate the import from US domestic beers, which tend to come in longnecks, said spokeswoman Tara Carraro.”

Mark van Iterson, Manager Global Heineken Design & Concept, said of the new global longneck design: “The bottle will reinforce the new packaging visual identity which has already been applied to the contemporary tactile can and embossed glasses that were introduced in selected markets earlier this year. As the market leader we pride ourselves on being progressive in design as well as taste.”

Van Iterson added: “Our consumer focuses on details.  This is why Heineken has dedicated time and resources to this design update, making sure every single element was taken into consideration.  We have looked at each and every packaging detail to ensure our sophisticated consumers feel a subtle but significant difference. Consumer response has been excellent. They see the new design to be modern, appealing and innovative.”

More details from the gloal press release:

The new bottle, replacing the XLN (extra long neck) and Heineken shortneck packaging, is introduced in two versions: embossed and standard. The new design features a unique curved embossment on the neck and back, which not only looks good, but also adds a pleasing to-the-touch feel, whilst a distinctive embossed mark acts as a stamp of quality and authenticity.  Additionally, the new shape makes it look proud while enhancing the premium positioning of the bottle. 

In addition to the specific packaging changes, the new packaging visual identity includes updates to key brand elements including an ellipse curve, derived from Heineken’s iconic racetrack logo. Additionally, Heineken’s trademark refreshing green colour has been enriched and its iconic red star emblem, the world’s most recognizable beer symbol, has been raised above its logo.

The new bottle reinforces the visual identity packaging that is already in use on cans and glasses introduced in the beginning of 2010.  The progressive packaging introduces sensory elements such as embossments, strategically placed indents and tactile ink, offering consumers aesthetic improvements, adding to the overall drinking experience.

Heineken’s commitment to innovation is evident in the new can design which is the first of its kind to feature tactile ink and be introduced across the world.  This revolutionary ink, created by a series of small raised dots on the surface of the can, gives the consumer a better feeling in the hand, enhanced grip and allows the brand to appear more refreshing and recognizable.

The latest glass features an embossed curve on the side, adding a pleasant feeling when held.  It also helps bar staff by providing a guidance point for how it should be held at the draught column, helping staff to create the ‘perfect pour’.  The new slender shape has also been proven to respond better to the temperature, meaning it will stay cool longer. 

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