Morosha Vodka brand

Morosha vodka design case with expansion in the USA: branding in the crisis and after. Creative director Damian Neave and agency founder Maria Chugrova talked about developing a new product after the crisis.

Created by Damian Neave
Branding and design of Morosha vodka and Leaf vodka by Damian Neave, creative director at LBC
During this crisis time, when many companies conduct a retrospective and think about the new realities of the market, we also decided to recall and disassemble the large-scale case of Morosha vodka. Then, in the post-crisis 2010, given the decline in the solvency of the population, the vodka market was forced to adjust its course from premiumization to the mainstream. The launch of new products was a bold one, and, as the market showed, a true anti-crisis solution. It's time to remember how it was.

In 2010, one of the largest alcohol producers in the CIS, Global Spirits contacted us with the task of creating a new vodka brand that would be different from everything that existed on the Ukrainian and Russian markets. And already in August 2011 Morosha vodka breaks all sales records and in 2013 enters the US market. Today, Morosha vodka brand is constantly on the list of the best-selling and fastest growing alcohol brands in the world.

Morosha brand development
Our task was to create a brand that combines the past and the present. It would be innovative, but at the same time reflected Ukrainian origin.

We have a proven, thorough approach to brand development that begins with identifying a strong strategic platform and finding a unique position and long-term concept.
As part of this process and rigorous analysis, we realized that there is a real gap in the market associated with the concept of the natural origin of the product and its environmental friendliness.
having studied various strategic directions, we all brought to one big idea of "Natural Purity"
In fact, vodka consists of two components: alcohol and water, and water is its main ingredient. For many years, most manufacturers focused on improving it; they announced three, ten, one hundredfold filtrations through anything from coal to diamonds. But no one has ever used natural mineral water. And that is exactly what would definitely make the product unique. In the end, water, like air, is a universal concept, and all we want from it is to be clean and natural. Thus began the development of the Morosha brand — modern vodka from mineral water of a protected natural resort in the Carpathians.

Looking ahead, we say that such a concept was successful not only because of its uniqueness, but also because it was based on brand truths that could be justified.

Naming is never a simple process. This is a very subjective story. In the end, we always try to convince our clients to choose a unique name that can be filled with meaning and associations. It so happened with the Morosha.

In the Southern Carpathians, "morosha" is called morning cloud over the mountains, which occurs due to evaporation of moisture. And it fit perfectly with our concept of natural purity. In addition, cloudberry is a native Carpathian term, which means it can cause an emotional connection among Ukrainians.

Morosha vodka design
Almost every Ukrainian or Russian client asks us to develop a design that will be perceived as a European product. «European» means that the design should look modern, high-quality and suitable for entering Western markets. Morosha vodka brand was no exception. As already mentioned, the main task was to find the right balance between Ukrainian origin and modernity — so that it was not a Cossack or folk product, like many existing brands in Ukraine and Russia, without the notorious grain, wheat or other images used almost in all vodkas of average price.
to find the right balance between Ukrainian origin and modernity
One of the areas that we worked out was just such a modern nation. We found some elements from the past, possibly nostalgic and used Ukrainian patterns, but in a modern interpretation. However, such a design of Morosha vodka did not reflect the concept of naturalness of the product.

We like to surprise customers by offering more ideas than they expect, from evolution to revolution, so another area that we have worked on is innovation. The "wow" effect was achieved due to a special thermo-sensitive material on the surface of the bottle. For 2010, it was something from the realm of fantasy.
And although the customer's team welcomed all the innovations in packaging, including technological, it became clear that such a design of the Morosha's bottle could increase the cost of the product and turn out to be unnecessarily complicated and expensive for production in Ukraine.

Another design idea was "back to basics". Literally. More precisely, to the source "New Mizun", from which water was extracted for the vodka "Morosha".

The natural theme caught us in its purity, simplicity, and also the reflection of the concept of «naturalness» and we continued to explore the reserve. We fully studied the local area, its crafts, flora and fauna, types and sights, in general, any visual associations. This is how we developed a scheme reflecting the nature and folk art of the area.
Let's digress a little from design, because I really want to say one thing. The ability of a client to make a choice and stick to it is an important condition in the formula of a successful project. In the case of Global Spirits, they have chosen the preferred route very quickly, which gave us the opportunity to concentrate only on this route and to develop it in all details and trifles.

That preferred route was … a leaf from the Morshinsky Nature Reserve. It subtly entered into all the elements of the brand's design and communication and allowed us to weave the Ukrainian pattern, which covered the task of «demonstrating the origin of the product».
True, a couple of years later the pattern was replaced with a photographic image of the leaf to increase visibility on the shelf, but it was preserved in the Morosha vodka label.

We also faced the task of displaying the price segmentation of the product.

Initially, it was necessary to create three SKU that will vary in color, thereby demonstrating the difference in price and quality.

But in the process of developing such a separation, Global Spirits came up with an idea that fit perfectly into the product concept and combined with the design.
the fact is that water intake for Morosha occurs at different heights — 470, 850 and 1050 meters of the Carpathian mountain Kigola
The higher the height, the better the quality of the water and the correspondingly higher the price.

Thus, we used the height of the sources as a differentiating criterion and developed a design for the three varieties of vodka.

Morosha Bottle Design
"Modern with
a light slavic touch"
"Simple, European, natural. Art Nouveau with a touch of slavic or Ukrainian origin, ethnicity. The bottle should not be too heavy and preferably transparent". Approximately with this set of requirements from the client, we approached this task.

The shape of the bottle that we came up with was quite difficult to make, and we had to go through various iterations during the preparation of the drawings in order to meet the requirements of the manufacturer. We also had to compromise on the neck thickness; it was supposed to become wider due to production constraints. The lid we proposed was ordered from the Italian manufacturer Tapi, which at that time was also very revolutionary for Ukraine. Most brands used a Guala type cap as a tempering prevention device (which eliminates the possibility of bottle reuse), and our mixer-type cap with a natural wood look was a step forward, imparting the brand's naturalness and simplicity.

Morosha is a great example of how, due to a strong strategy, a clear idea, focus and thoughtful design, the fundamental principles of branding still work even in an established market.

Morosha vodka brand was launched in Ukraine in August 2011 and after only 4 months it occupied 1% of the market, despite the high competitiveness. According to a survey of leading Ukrainian supermarkets in April 2012, Morosha took the 2nd place in terms of sales with a market share of 14.5%.

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