Responses by Kate Wadia, cofounder and chief creative officer, Mrs&Mr.
Background: In the increasingly crowded and competitive hot sauce category, Tabasco was looking to modernize itself with a unifying, cohesive visual identity system that would transcend borders and work seamlessly across more than 100 markets globally. The challenge was to design an arresting, appetizing and ownable visual system that would drive relevance and differentiation. Since some of the most distinctive people in the world are passionate about Tabasco, from chefs to celebrities to astronauts to royalty, we had the opportunity to appeal to a new, younger generation of original people and tastemakers.
Design thinking: Tabasco is unique in making everything it touches more original. To reflect this enduring product truth, we created a vibrant, dynamic visual system where the majority of design elements were produced off the computer: hand illustrations, cut paper, photocopying, halftone patterns from vintage ads, silkscreening and doodles. Layering these elements over the iconic bottle shape, which served as the anchor of the design system, led to an energetic and vibrant brand system that is as multidimensional as the product itself.
Challenges: As an iconic brand with a rich legacy, balancing heritage with modern relevance was a pivotal challenge to this rebrand. Throughout this project, we focused just as much on what to evolve and reimagine on the design elements to cherish and protect—leading to a new brand expression that respects the Tabasco legacy while injecting it with new energy, vibrancy and enhanced flavor appeal.
Favorite details: Most branding projects are squarely focused on evolving the design elements. We are proud that this project was a fully comprehensive brand evolution, encompassing the global strategic positioning, visual identity system, tone and messaging—all of which culminated with the production of a creative advertising campaign. Our involvement across every step of the Tabasco brand’s restaging led to a much more consistent, cohesive and unified brand world.
New lessons: To create a global brand system that could be implemented in more than 100 markets and multiple product flavors, we learned the importance of creating freedom in a framework: a flexible visual system that could be applied consistently across global markets while enabling local adaptation and implementation, ensuring that Tabasco maintained local relevance and respected consumer and cultural differences in product consumption and food pairings.
Specific project demands: The project was made easier by the intimate, enjoyable working relationship with global executive leaders at Tabasco. By working closely with the chief social media officer and with regular involvement and support from the chief executive officer, we avoided “design by committee,” leading to strong creative work with a distinct point of view, all while inspiring and bringing along key stakeholders across the organization.