The Thinking Behind the Brand: Lunazul Tequila

Ever heard the saying, “once in a blue moon?” The phrase is rooted in a rare occurrence where the moon, on its 13th rotation, is more eager to arrive to than in previous rotations — a more ambitious moon, if you will.

It’s a pretty special event. People mark the arrival of the 13th rotation on their calendar.

Tequila, in general, is a bit like this rare event. It arrives in your life from time to time, usually between the years of about 19 and 24, and has had the reputation of leaving behind less bluemoon-like memories and more blackout-like ones. Which was precisely the challenge.

And, if ever there were an opportunity to address that it, of course would be with the new spirit in the Heaven Hill portfolio, Lunazul Tequila, which actually means “Blue Moon.”

What if we could lift all the wonder and experience from a blue moon and use it to inform an improved reputation of tequila? And what if we could create a fascination that would inspire tequila drinkers to drink tequila more often? In doing so, there’s a chance we could actually create more “Blue Moons” moments in our lives.

We started with what’s most true: its heritage, the bottle, and the packaging.

lunazul-bottle-with-sparklers

“Lunazul” expressed in compressed, southwestern lettering across the shoulder of the bottle. And naturally, where there are moons, there are wolves. A fact reinforced by an embossed icon of a wolf - silhouetted and howling - against a circle representing the moon.

By overlaying spontaneity, heritage and our target audience (young and adventurous 25-35-year-old North Americans) “Feed the Wolf” was born — a provocative call to action that was to become the ultimate brand expression and ethos of Heaven Hill’s latest spirit brand.

Sounds pretty great, right? Sure. But what exactly does “Feed The Wolf” mean?

All good brands carry with them a manifesto, a metaphorical, “howl” from the mountain tops, voicing and visualizing a distinct point of view. A good manifesto will inspire visual thought. A good brand will convert those visual thoughts into reality.

Here’s what we created for Lunazul:

elements-of-lunazul

Words extracted directly from the manifesto like: blue moon, mountains, celebration, rich land, desire – and phrases like: hunger for life were used to spring visual connections and inspire conceptual design thinking for the brand. But we knew the only way to be authentic to our new call-to-action was to live it ourselves.

This meant, in pursuit of Lunazul’s new brand, stock images or downloaded icons wouldn’t cut it. We had to work with photographers we never collaborated with before. We had to fly to deserts we’d never flown to and put away our digital pen tools to seek out brushes with real bristles, and India-ink long forgotten to the refillable kind the agency’s inkjet printers. We had to simultaneously discover the spirit of the “wolf” and allow it to discover us the same.

Esoteric, maybe. Achievable? Absolutely.

In fact, during this whirlwind of a process, on the way to our shoot at Joshua Tree, our Heaven Hill client shared she felt as if by living the production of the brand she was feeding the wolf.

CONJURING THE ELEMENTS OF “THE WOLF”

handwritten-manifesto-for-lunazul
We created a graphic visual language we called “wolf spirit,” that baptized each “Feed The Wolf” moment with graphic energy — hieroglyphic expressions for the Lunazul brand. Footprints of the wolf. The agave plants used to make the tequila. Indications of lava soil and peaks and valleys of the local volcanic mountain range, when turned on its side feels like electricity.

These, and a half of a dozen more, became proprietary expressions crucial to building the brand’s personality, and equally as important, how it differs from its competitors.

The photography came to life on a two-day sprint with Shelby Duncan, a fashion and lifestyle photographer out of Los Angeles. She and her crew worked the sands of Malibu and Joshua Tree alike to capture that hunger for life under these distinctions: Pack-oriented friends that seemed spontaneous, out-in-the-world and full of life. No capture was to be static, no location dull, no talent choice basic.

collage-of-images-from-lunazul

The combination of these two custom elements, handmade type choices and poetic swagger armed us with what we needed to bring “Feed the Wolf” to life for Lunazul’s

media plan and hopefully Lunazul Tequila drinkers for years to come. Years that associate tequila with palpable memories instead of blacked-out fogs.


Todd Lipscomb is the ACD at LEAP Group and was the lead creative on the Lunazul Tequila branding project.