‘B’ is a new premium Cachaça, a popular Brazilian liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice, that has been infused with honey and lime.
The brand, co-founded by Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr., commissioned Raimundo Favacho and Patricia Ebner of San Francisco based advertising agency Pereira & O’Dell to develop a packaging solution, based around a ‘sting shot’ theme, that would deliver a sophisticated and elegant brand experience right through to consumption.
“Elegantly dressed in yellow and black stripes, the hexagon-shaped box doubles as a reusable isothermal cooler, keeping the remarkable bottle of B Honey Cachaca at the perfect drinking temperature for up to three hours.”“The box has a sleek matte finish and embossed with the B logo. The Special Edition B-Hive Chillbox was designed to stand out on its own, chilling the cachaca at VIP tables or as an eye-catching gift for the high-end party crasher. The striking simplicity of the packaging has attracted consumers throughout Brazil. This success has lead the brand's owners, including Formula One race-car drive Nelson Piquet Jr., to a United States launch in Q4 of 2012 with a clear path to additional countries. The B straw with B tag is designed to transfer B honey cachaca from the glass to the mouth in the most visually striking way possible. A promotional gift that turns the B logo into fashion.”
The exterior case’s bold and unrestrained black and yellow colour palette is pretty clear in its reference to bees and although not elegant or fashionable it covers a lovely extruded structural solution that takes the hexagonal graphic device, common to honey products, and gives it a fresh three dimensional spin. Its dual functionality, coated metal finish and hazard-like composition of colour, resonates well with the industrious and practical disposition of hive activity and introduces a sense of high-quality in its structural and machined sensibilities. The more organic nature of the symbol embossed across the top surface juxtaposes the geometry of the case and successfully compounds the attributes of a bee, honey and honey dipper without coming across as too contrived.
The interior bottle, in its minimalistic approach to sophistication, is perhaps a touch plain and conventional following the initial impact of the exterior case but does however make good use of the natural tone and visual warmth of the liquor. A simple black screen printed treatment and striped cap reflect the two tone contrast of the external pack with a bit more subtlety but the absence of ingredient detail fails to expand on the basic honey proposition. The ‘B’ logo-mark’s sting is a nice idea simply executed and although the reference to bees is a little relentless it adds a much needed weight and proprietary quality to a logo-type that is too light and generic. A vertical layout of each of these components below the symbol creates the illusion of a honey dipper and adds depth and coherency to the content.
The pendant and its card inclosure successfully merge the graphic assets of the bottle with the three dimensional product, it is a little cheap in its material selection and perhaps highlights the shortcomings of a overly simplistic packaging design. In contrast the straw feels appropriate and functional, suitably branding the product outside of the bottle.
Unfortunately while it has a strong sense of character and a distinctive structural design the concept suffers from an unnecessarily heavy bias towards honey and does not offer a visual resolution of the other ingredients, highlight flavour complexity or deliver the typical lifestyle or premium cues that consumers have come to expect from a higher priced product. Indeed minimalism can result in a very convincing premium quality but in this instance the bias towards honey and the simplicity of content leads to an interesting but ultimately one dimensional concept.
Opinion by Richard Baird