For a group of friends working at Bluffton, S.C.-based BFG Communications, the proverbial light bulb went off when they were at a bar watching the bartender
pour some complex shots.
“There was a group of people at the end of this very busy bar in Charleston, S.C., at happy hour on a Thursday,” explains Ryan Meany, manager of business development for BFG Communications. “The group innocently kept asking the bartender to make them shots that were sweet, fruity and delicious. The bartender obliged, but gave us — his friends — the look of, ‘Oh, not again.’”
At that moment, the BFG group knew the bartender was wishing he had a single bottle from which to pour instead of requiring five different bottles for one shot.
“From there, we saw this opportunity for a sweet, balanced, tart, high-energy shooter,” Meany says. The next step was giving the product a name.
The creative agency engaged graduating students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to help brainstorm some brand names. The students came up with 10 different ideas, but none of them seemed to sync with the product, Meany notes. At the same time, the BFG team wasn’t having any luck determining a name that fit. The team decided to shelf the name of the product for a while and focus instead on defining the beverage, its mission and its core consumers, he notes.
“We know it’s very citrus forward; we know it’s meant to be served really cold; we know it’s not really for sipping; we know it’s going to gear more toward that 21-32 out-and-about carefree-mindset [consumer]; it’s going to speak to beach-goers; it’s going to speak to surfers; it’s going to speak to people who are going out to the clubs and bars and really letting loose,” Meany says. Additionally, the agency needed to make sure that the beverage’s prominent lemon flavor was communicated without confusing the liqueur with another type of spirit, such as a lemon-flavored vodka or limoncello, he explains.
With all of these thoughts in mind, the team revisited the brand name suggestions from the SCAD students and the BFG team. In this second look, an earlier suggestion of “Demonic” sparked attention. The name was essentially the culmination of what the brand had become, representing the idea that consumers could drink the liqueur at night and their inner demon would come out, Meany recalls. After mulling the name over again and factoring in the beverage’s lemon flavor and high-energy positioning, the brand name “Lemonic” came to fruition.
“Lemonic — that speaks to a lifestyle,” Meany says. “We kept envisioning [a consumer saying,] ‘Oh yeah, that party was Lemonic.’ It really seemed to sum up the attitude and mindset behind the product. It really seemed to speak to the citrus, day-party, beachside lifestyle.”
Carrying the brand name and lifestyle attributes through to the package design, BFG created a devilish lemon character that takes the place of the letter “o” in the tattoo-style font of the Lemonic brand name. The character also appears prominently on the brand’s marketing materials.
“He is the embodiment of the spirit of Lemonic,” Meany says.
The bright yellow graphics surrounding the brand name also interact with the Lemonic lemon character. As if the lemon character has been squeezed, yellow graphics surrounding the lower portion of the logotype resemble bursting and dripping lemon juice, while yellow graphics surrounding the upper portion of the logotype show the lemon juice catching fire and going up in flames, Meany explains.
Furthermore, the bottle features a “reveal” effect, adding an element of surprise, he notes. The liqueur was designed to be served chilled. Therefore, when the bottle is frozen, it gets covered in frost, which blurs the iconography so that only the yellow and black inks are visible, he explains. This creates a very minimal-impact design in order to create intrigue, he adds. However, as the liquid is being consumed and the bottle begins to empty, the frost melts, and the iconography is revealed.
“As the bottle is consumed, the areas without fluid won’t freeze over, revealing the intricate design of our iconography,” Meany explains.
Earlier this summer, the company performed a test launch of Lemonic liqueur in on- and off-premise locations in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as in other small areas within the state.
“We’ve gotten a great response in Myrtle Beach,” Meany says. As a result, he says the agency has the answers it needs to feel comfortable moving forward into other key marketplaces in South Carolina.
Most recently, the spirit hit the Columbia, S.C., market, and the company is planning another “big push” in the state for early September, Meany says.