When I tasted Ariki for the first time, it made me rock back in my chair, close my eyes and smile as I savoured the hints of vanilla and coconut in the Vodka and botanicals in the gin.
This is truly a special drop. Our task in the design process was to clothe the beautiful bottle holding this clear nectar in something special – very special. Our challenge had been laid upon us.
Vodka is traded in the highest volume of any spirit in the world; to say the market is cluttered is an understatement. Our client came to us with a name – Ariki, meaning "royalty, paramount chief, chieftain, lord, leader, aristocrat”. Their Cook Island and New Zealand heritage served as the fulcrum for launching the brand with Pacific Island positioning in the global marketplace.
Our research showed that we needed to take a challenger brand approach against the behemoths and position Ariki in a niche - the ultra-premium spirits sector. Whilst Ariki was a new brand to market, we needed to quickly seed heritage and premium cues to make the brand feel like it was long-established, targeting global audiences including the US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Hong Kong, Australasia and the Pacific.
Our approach was to use the Ariki illustration as the centre of our storytelling and prominent feature on our packaging design and brand touchpoints. We collaborated with renowned international artist Anna Crichton to illustrate Ariki in a style evoking the spirit of pioneering and legends. Our challenger approach meant every brand touchpoint had to deliver some form of storytelling - from the bottle packaging through to the shipper boxes and all point of sale and communications.
The visual presence of our Ariki reflected through the bottle on a reverse-printed label gives the Vodka & Gin an immediate point of difference in the market, in what is more a traditionally styled category. The stereotypical European simplicity in the category has been broken with this illustrative execution.
Photographic Art Direction