Carlsberg refreshes the Somersby brand with Elmwood Leeds to bring life to the ‘living tree’

Carlsberg Group has created a ‘Refreshingly Optimistic’ brand positioning and architecture for Somersby, Carlsberg’s cider brand. Created with Elmwood Leeds, the refreshed brand positioning establishes a new brand experience platform for Somersby, providing a clear brand architecture and visual identity system that enhances the brand’s distinctiveness in each of Somersby’s key markets.

First launched in 2008, Somersby has defined the cider category and built a strong emotional connection with consumers. As the category leader, Carlsberg wanted to build on Somersby’s success. With the entry of new competitors, the opportunity was to elevate the brand and break the traditional cider category tropes and create something more than just a cider .At the same time, Carlsberg wanted to bring simplicity to its multi-tier brand architecture, as well as flexibility to meet the needs of different market environments. Carlsberg enlisted Elmwood to refresh the Somersby brand to ensure that continued to be distinctive, ownable, recognisable and campaignable across its markets.

In a time of growing consumer uncertainty and complexity, Somersby’s opportunity was to create a culture of optimism, connecting with consumers’ desire to seek moments of happiness with friends and family. Recognising a clear consumer need, Elmwood created the ‘Refreshingly Optimistic’ positioning for Somersby, addressing a growing need of its consumer to let off steam and unwind together with friends and to seek relief at low energy moments. In their busy, complex lives, Somersby strives to be an uplifting beacon of optimism that encourages people to embrace the lighter side of life. 

Repositioning Somersby as an occasion-based sparkling drink, rather than a traditional cider, Elmwood Leeds’ studio refreshed the brand to be a ‘smile in the mind’, for sharing, to be uplifting and about embracing life with optimism, allowing the brand to stretch into new drinking occasions traditionally dominated by wine, cocktails and beer. 

The positioning is encapsulated throughout the refreshed brand, including a more distinctive, contemporary, and uplifting word marque that serves as a pedestal for the Somersby Living Tree, the brand’s primary brand asset. Every nuance of the brand was reconsidered to represent an uplifting state of mind and communicate a sense of optimism, including the living tree trunk, with branches that open out to be more welcoming and supportive. To ensure distinctiveness and consistency across the different Somersby markets environments (both white and dark markets), the living tree has been designed to become a flexible brand asset that unifies the product portfolio, whilst communicating key fruit flavour tasting notes in a more premium way. 

While the outline of the tree remains fixed, the tree’s canopy changes to capture these unique illustrated tasting notes, creating a clear architecture for each drinking experience. The approach takes the tree away from the traditional apple tree image – now an established category code – and turns it into a distinctive, yet dynamic brand asset. The many expressions of the living tree give consistency across the portfolio, including Somersby Apple, Blackberry, Pear, Elderflower & Lime, Watermelon and Mango & Lime. 

Pernille Arnt, Global Marketing Director, Carlsberg Group: “Somersby is more than a cider. Somersby is the perfect combination of craftsmanship and innovation. It celebrates and champions quality, optimism and invites people to embrace life. Our refreshed brand and scalable brand system now ensure that we can build the brand’s distinctiveness across different market environments and different life-cycles of the brand without diluting the master brand. The refreshed Somersby positioning now perfectly encapsulates its positivity and warmth, creating a truly stand-out brand that is refreshingly different.”

Rob Skelly, Associate Creative Director at Elmwood Leeds, said: “As we embarked on this challenge, we wanted to ensure that every little nuance of the brand was considered to communicate an uplifting brightness and optimism. Somersby is uniquely crafted, a Scandinavian gem that only Carlsberg could come up with. Working with talented partners, such as Michael Arnold and Rob Clarke, we wanted its distinctiveness to shine through and created a flexible, yet unique design system that future-proofs the Somersby brand and allows it to continuously refresh and evolve. The living tree works beautifully across all platforms and offers us endless opportunities to engage, excite and inspire our audience.” 

To ensure a consistent roll-out of the refreshed brand, Elmwood created a full suite of Somersby brand guidelines explaining the brand platform, its architecture, its visual identity system, as well as how the primary and secondary brand assets can be brought to life in market.

Somersby’s refreshed brand will live globally across 50 markets, on and off-trade, predominantly in Europe and Asia. The most vital markets of focus are Australia, Canada, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Bulgaria, and countries in Asia.

SourceElmwood Leeds

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