Robot Food turns up the tang with Sarson’s vinegar brand identity and campaign

The work aims to solidify Sarson’s place on the condiment shelf and coincides with the release of its Dip & Drizzle sauce, which was developed to reach a new generation of consumers.

Robot Food has partnered with Sarson’s on a new omnichannel advertising campaign, brand world toolkit and packaging design coinciding with the vinegar brand’s first piece of new product development in 230 years.

After one of the studio’s long-term clients moved on to managing Sarson’s brand, Robot Food was brought on board to reinvigorate the much-loved heritage brand and prepare it for the future. Sarson’s new product, Dip & Drizzle, is a versatile sticky vinegar sauce that can be added to a variety of dishes, made for a new generation of consumers.

Attracting a new audience meant shifting consumer expectations through a new, more exciting brand while clearly communicating how and why to use its new product. However, Robot Food founder and executive creative director Simon Forster notes how the new generation of consumers is “more nostalgic than ever”.

In order to reach them, the studio sought to blend “modern foodiness” with Sarson’s heritage by retaining some of its recognisable assets to build an emotional connection through familiarity. This was “a balancing act”, according to Forster, as “delivering the same old same wouldn’t cut through”, and the brand needed an identity that felt “fresh, bold and exciting”.

Forster says, “Sarson’s is up against some big names in the retail space, situated on-shelf between hot sauces and table sauces, so we had to make sure the identity would really pop in-store and be irresistible to shoppers.”

To achieve this, Robot Food employed a new suite of distinctive brand assets and clear taste descriptors that would make the product seem too good not to buy.

One strategy the studio used was tapping into popular food trends. Research revealed that consumers are reducing eating-out spending in favour of recreating a restaurant experience at home. Forster believes that “premium condiments and dressings play a big part in making these home-cooked meals more special.”

Robot Food also found that three-quarters of consumers prefer versatile condiments, creating an opportunity for Sarson’s to showcase Dip & Drizzle “not only as a hybrid of vinegar and sauce but in the many different ways it can be used to transform food,” says Forster.

He explains how the visual codes associated with nourishment have changed, and “bright, bold colours are no longer synonymous with artificial”, meaning that the studio could experiment with more radical colourways and fonts that reflect nostalgia, escapism and pleasure.

Sarson’s new ‘Turn up the Tang’ brand phrase was inspired by customer reviews of their products, which often used the word ‘tang’ to describe the flavours. Forster says, “We also discovered that tang has multiple definitions and is often paired with words like ‘sweet’, ‘rich’, ‘powerful’, ‘mind-blowing’, and ‘lip-puckering’.

“It’s not something to feel passive about; it’s an exciting, sensory experience.”

Everything from the colours and font animations to the photography was designed to be amplified and communicate Sarson’s tangy USP. Along with vibrant, punchy colours, Sarson’s now has high-contrast food shots on-pack that showcase the textures and taste cues of the different dishes, dialling up its shelf appeal.

Robot Food took a simple approach to typography and didn’t want to overcomplicate the identity with unnecessary additional fonts. The existing core of Sarson’s brand typography, Veneer Soft, now has more impact on how it interacts with other assets in the identity, like food photography.

“As the campaign spanned much further than just printed touchpoints, including digital advertising, website banners and social media content, we had the opportunity to go beyond just how it looks and focus on how everything acts too,” says Forster.

Robot Food created a guide for Sarson’s, detailing how every asset should move and interact, from type setting and motion to the facial expressions of the models after experiencing the tang.

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