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Redesign for Mexican beer brand Carta Blanca

Global brand design consultancy Elmwood has reinvigorated one of Mexico’s oldest beer brands, Carta Blanca.

The 125-year-old brand is intrinsically tied to its origin in the North of Mexico. But although the brand has a fiercely loyal and older consumer base in this region, it had lost relevance to younger drinkers, and needed to find new ways to appeal to them.

Following Elmwood’s high profile work on Heineken’s Tecate brand, the consultancy was challenged to deliver a full portfolio redesign that would help bring Carta Blanca out of decline, and grow it nationally.  

Elmwood completed a deep dive in-market immersion, and ran video blogging sessions with Mexican beer drinkers to gain insights into their world, lifestyle, beliefs and impressions of Carta Blanca. Through this, the agency uncovered a desire for an honest and uncomplicated brand for unpretentious consumers who just love great tasting beer.

The name ‘Carta Blanca’ comes from the French phrase ‘Carte Blanche’, which refers to freedom, transcendence and authenticity – and directly translates to ‘white card’.

Inspired by this ethos, Elmwood literally wrote Carta Blanca's heritage story across the white background of the brand, and introduced new, punchier copy that spoke of its rich heritage.

Elmwood treated existing brand equities and colours with respect while contemporising the identity to give it relevance in a modern market. The agency retained the roundel shape so associated with the brand, but refreshed it to give confidence on-pack and to maximize its impact.

In addition to this, Elmwood heroed the brand’s medals won for quality and craft, and reworked the brand marque to reintroduce some softer design cues associated with the very first Carta Blanca label. These softer cues were then combined with some harder edged industrial serifs.

The re-brand is the second project delivered by the consultancy in the Mexican market and continues the development of Elmwood as a truly global player.

Greg Taylor, global provocation director at Elmwood, says: “Carta Blanca is undeniably one of the most iconic beers in Mexico. The brand equity associated with a product that has been around since 1890 demanded deep understanding of the cultural values at play with both existing and potential consumers.”

Daniel Madrigal Marroquin, Carta Blanca brand manager at Heineken, says: “Carta Blanca was looking for an identity change that could refresh the brand, and improve on its already popular design – and Elmwood really delivered on this.” 

The rebrand is now being supported by a national above the line TV and activation campaign.


21 December 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor