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How Mercury Hard Cider beat the ‘sea of sameness’ to reverse declining sales and win a DBA Design Effectiveness award


How Mercury Hard Cider beat the ‘sea of sameness’ to reverse declining sales and win a DBA Design Effectiveness award


CUB’s Mercury Hard Cider has won bronze in the drinks category at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards in London.

mercury hard ciderMercury Hard Cider was the only Australian brand to take out an award at the DBA Design Effectiveness awards in London.

The CUB product won bronze in the beverages category. The Design Business Association is “the UK’s most vocal champion of effective design in the creation of business growth.”

In the face of falling sales of its legacy Mercury Cider products, CUB employed Denomination Design to develop Mercury Hard Cider to target the 18-24 predominantly male drinker category, with an approach that took cues from bourbon brands rather than existing cider products.

Following the product launch in October 2015, Mercury became the fastest growing top-five cider brand in Australia.

With no advertising and little promotion, the new drink sold 5.46 million cans in its first 18 months. The launch also played a part in parent brand Mercury’s reversal of fortunes to go from declining sales of -7% at the time of launch, to +6.1% 18 months later.

Two key hurdles outlined by CUB in their brief to Denomination were:

  • availability of display space: cider sales in Australia make up only 5% of alcohol sales, but 40 newmercury hard cider products enter the category annually, so display space is very limited in stores.
  • The ‘sea of sameness’ where majority of cider brands occupy a similar space visually – dominated by rustic typography, apple trees, and green colour featuring prominently on packaging.

CUB believed with a higher alcohol content it could appeal to both cider drinkers and pre-mix drinkers alike.

Mercury Hard Cider was the only Australian product to win an award.

Polyseam’s Graft Brand project won the Grand Prix at the awards. The adhesives, sealants and fillers brand was facing a decline in sales before enlisting The Engine Room design firm to help it package and promote its newly developed an environmentally friendly all-in-one adhesive and sealant based on new chemical technology.







Further reading

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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