Weekly Re-Brand #16: Baileys

Welcome to the Blade Weekly Re-Brand, a place for us to take a quick look at some of the rebranding going on in the world and give a quick impression of what went right and what went wrong.

Back in October, Baileys started an aggressive new advertising campaign, and have recently continued down that path by updating their iconic bottle design.

The old Baileys bottle (left) vs. the new Baileys bottle (right).

The old Baileys bottle (left) vs. the new Baileys bottle (right).

What was wrong with the old Baileys?
Bailey’s has been long considered a drink for special occasions. It’s affordable, but still somewhat of a luxury item. Part of that is due to marketing, which has often pushed to elevate Baileys to a luxury brand. While a bit of luxury branding can go a long way, pushing your brand as so luxurious that your potential customers think it’s more expensive than it actually is can be detrimental to sales, so now Baileys is trying to reposition itself as a brand to be regularly enjoyed on social occasions.

As one of the most-loved female spirits brands in the world, we need to not only to appeal to current Baileys consumers and adorers, but ensure we also appeal to each new generation of progressive, savvy and spirited women.

Garbhan O’Bric, Baileys global brand director

Does the new version fix the problem?
The new bottle is definitely more elegant looking, and the new gold double ‘B’ symbol looks great. The iconic neck curve of the bottle has been retained while the overall look of the bottle is now more of a wine bottle shape. The reduction in the number of colours makes the Baileys logo stand out even more, and all that negative space just pushed everything important to the front. This is definitely a bottle with shelf presence.

An ad from Baileys Cream with Spirit ad campaign.

An ad from Baileys Cream with Spirit ad campaign. I'm not sure if "drinking Baileys" qualifies as a "cause".

What new problems have been introduced?
Besides the fact that changing the shape of the bottle might make it less immediately recognizable on shelves, Baileys has opened itself up to a whole new area of criticism from their own target demographic: progressive young women. Separate statements made by Baileys about the new bottle being able to fit in the fridge and being designed to appeal more to women have been brought together online, to make Baileys seem condescending. Add in the fact that they’ve been referring to the new “taller, thinner, and more elegant” bottle design as “more feminine” and you have the beginnings of a negative spiral on social media. Baileys Cream with Spirit ad campaign isn’t helping matters much, with its voice of authority taglines that seem to be telling women how they should act.

An ad from Baileys Cream with Spirit ad campaign.

Another ad from Baileys Cream with Spirit ad campaign.

Is it an overall improvement?
The negativity has been largely contained to small sections of the social media sphere, and the new bottle is definitely an improvement in terms of pure aesthetics. Largely, I suspect that the slow rollout of the different new branding elements has worked in Baileys favour, as the negative implications of each has been disconnected from the others. Baileys has definitely made some missteps here, but if they can keep it together from here on out, they just might have a success on their hands.

Do you think the new Baileys is an improvement?

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  • Floyd Flotsom

    I love it when folks who sell hard liquor (and Virginia Slims back in the 70s) reach out … reach WAY, WAY out and tell their audience how they should think, what they should think about and what kind of person they should strive to be. When its targeted to young women, who apparently can’t think for themselves, it is particularly vile.

    Because, as we all know, booze will help you establish the cleared headed thinking that ensures a profound sense of self determination and mastery in one’s life. Or, as one axiom of the ad world goes: when you got nothin’, load on the production values, because bullshit baffles brains. The question is: Who’s brains are getting baffled on this campaign? Young women? Or the client’s brand geniuses who cooked this up … and might just have done so under the influence?