Jim Beam is changing its package design -- but Mila Kunis isn't going anywhere. The actress will remain the face of the bourbon in ads, as the bottles get a new look.
The update marks the first significant change to the bottle design in decades, according to the brand. The goal is to use the same design in the more than 100 markets where Beam is sold across the globe. Previously, different designs have been used in different regions.
"Being a truly global iconic brand, with packaging obviously being our most visible and valuable real estate, we wanted to make sure that wherever you went you saw a consistent look of Jim Beam across the family of products," said Megan Frank, VP of global marketing for the Jim Beam brand. She drew comparisons to iconic brands such as Target and Apple, which have the same look globally.
The most noticeable change is the shape of the bottles, which are more squared instead of rounded, with broader shoulders. Also, the premium Jim Beam Black variety is shorter and fatter than the old version. (It contains the same amount of liquid.) Other new design touches include the use of higher quality paper and real gold foil and matte finishes, according to the brand.
Beam Suntory began rolling out the packaging in European markets in March. The marketer this week is announcing the U.S. rollout. The agency behind the change is Pearlfisher.
Ms. Kunis started pitching Jim Beam in early 2014 as part of the global "Make History" campaign. New ads starring the actress are in production, Ms. Frank said. Ms. Kunis was the first-ever female spokesperson for a bourbon brand, according to the brand. "She helped us to differentiate and stand out in a relatively…fragmented category," Ms. Frank said.
While she is "a little unexpected" as a spokeswoman, "she really is authentic to the equities of the brand," she added. "We are an approachable brand. Mila has a lot of those same premium yet approachable qualities."
An ad currently airing starring Ms. Kunis is called "Look Inside." It uses CGI to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how Beam is made.
A consortium of agencies from three countries known as StoryWorks handles the campaign. It includes Mekanism from the U.S.; The Works from Australia; and Jung von Matt of Germany. The U.S. agency had been StrawberryFrog, but the shop was replaced last year by Mekanism, which recently opened a Chicago office to help service the Beam account. Brand owner Beam Suntory is headquartered in the Chicago area.
Sales of Jim Beam's core variety in the U.S. grew 8% in the 52 weeks ending April 17 to $122.4 million, according to IRI, which does not include bar and restaurant sales. The core Jim Beam variety controls 5.71% dollar share of the U.S. whiskey category, compared with 10.42% for top-seller Jack Daniel's black label, according to IRI.