Pinkie Promise; Why Drinks Sectors Are Looking To Rosé

by Rowena Curlewis on 10/09/2019 | 3 Minute Read

We’re all crazy about rosé. Even though the number of people who consume alcohol in the US keeps falling (for the third year in a row now, according to beverage market analyst IWSR), pink is still on the up and up. 

Sales of rosé wine in the US are growing by more than 40% a year, says data firm Nielsen, the fastest growth rate of any category. Perhaps surprisingly, it seems that it’s especially appealing to guys, with 56% consumed by men.

None of this has gone unnoticed by the other drinks sectors, including cider, vodka and gin, who are studying these trends with increasing interest, keen for a taste of la vie en rose.

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Tickled Pink

As a rule, people are pretty tribal about their drinks preferences. Once you identify as a beer guy or a Sauvignon Blanc girl, it can be hard to shift. We tend to make the same choices every time we approach a bar or scan the supermarket shelf. So brands and their design partners have always had a job on their hands when it comes to persuading consumers to cross these invisible but real category divisions. 

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So how do you persuade a pink drinker to try a light, bright and effervescent cider, for example? One way brands and designers can encourage people to make the leap is by delving into the semiotics of rosé wine and applying them to new sectors. Use this method, balance the familiar with the fresh and exciting, and you might win them over.

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This is the approach we took when we developed the brand and packaging identity for Strongbow Blossom Rosé Sparkling Apple Cider. Pink hues referenced rosé language, bringing cider out of the mainstream thirst-quenching sphere to a more upmarket female audience. 

The packaging needed to be beautiful and feminine while calling out taste cues and championing the appealing pink color of the liquid, which is what has helped drive rosé’s popularity on Instagram.

And it worked—data from sales show that more than half of the people buying this drink do not regard themselves primarily as cider drinkers. The aesthetics of the design solution were paramount to the success of the product and establishing its position as a premium, covetable drink.

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Spare Your Blushes

But it’s not as simple as pinching design cues from one and slapping them onto another. If you do, you risk muddling semiotics and causing consumer confusion—I thought I was buying X, when in fact, I picked up Y. Everything has to be appropriate for that brand, even when nodding to all things pink.  

Bottle and label shapes, stock choices, typography, imagery, palette, embellishment and closure design all serve to build depth and credibility, helping brands create a powerful, believable, and connecting message. Brand identity must always be appropriate and authentic if it is to be credible and pass muster with consumers. And the quest to create something original and distinctive should never be sacrificed.

Another advantage of this hybridized approach is that it offers brands an opportunity to encourage consumers into the fold to introduce them to other core brand offerings.

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Australian winemaker Squealing Pig used the popularity of its award-winning rosé to encourage people to try its new Squealing Pig Rosé Gin infused with the wine. The gin proudly wears its vintner expertise on its sleeve, with much of the packaging identity developed for the rosé making its way onto the spirits bottle. 

So, while we see a proliferation of pink products across all sectors, the ones that are proving successful are those that understand that, while it makes sense to capture the zeitgeist, credibility is essential. 

Making a brand appear as though it belongs in a new space sufficiently to encourage people to try it requires a considered approach, one that appreciates the subtleties and nuances of the sector, and giving a brand a quick, pink makeover simply won’t wash.   

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