Leeds-based Brilliant, a specialist in food and drink marketing and branding, has given the UK’s number one gherkin brand, Mrs Elswood, its first brand refresh since the 90s.
Mrs Elswood – named after the Elstree and St John’s Wood homes of company founders Sam Goldman, Joe Rubin and Dennis Mendel – first appeared on jars of gherkins as far back as the 1970s as a smiling young woman. She was later replaced by an illustration and has stayed relatively unchanged since.
The Mrs Elswood team wanted to modernise the brand, emphasising its versatility as well as the humbleness of the product, while still retaining the familiarity and dependability of the Mrs Elswood character that consumers had bought into.
The smiling brunette, emblematic of gherkins and pickled vegetables, was developed by the creative team at Brilliant supported by illustrator Myles Talbot, who has previously worked on projects for Pringles, Minute Maid and Asda.
In a bold move, Brilliant swapped the white lid for red to give more shelf presence, with the red paying homage to the red ribbon of the Mrs Elswood logo.
Creative director at Brilliant, Laurra, Davis said: “This was a brand evolution with a core character at the heart of it [and] the distinctive elements the brand has built up over decades – the green, the red ribbon and of course, Mrs Elswood herself. Making over such an iconic on-pack character was a huge responsibility, so for us we wanted to retain her warmth, and her motherly qualities whilst bringing her up to date.”
Brilliant says its creative refresh has helped to consolidate the brand with a new look that feels more up to date and is more relatable to today’s consumer. The new face of Mrs Elswood is now also equipped for the brand to use for digital purposes as the previous illustration couldn’t be used on social media and online.
The new design has been put to a research group of 600 category consumers who actively buy gherkins in UK supermarkets, comparing the existing jar vs the new jar on 20+ different metrics. The result was a positive skew towards the new design across all metrics.
Mat Moyes, senior brand manager at Mrs Elswood, added: “Mrs Elswood has been growing consistently in recent years, and we felt the time was right to evolve, and to modernise the brand. Brilliant took time to understand every element of our business to retain all of the core Mrs Elswood values. We’re incredibly proud of the modernisation work across our brand – and we can’t wait to hear what shoppers have to say!”