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Co-creating a new brand


multinational company

length / size
6 months
14 people on client side spread across Brussels, Lille and London

Europe with a focus on France, Belgium and the UK

consumer profiling
Data informed personas
Brand differentiated positioning
Design Thinking
Co-creation (hackathon)

Diana Coulson
Market research agency
Design, activation & media agencies

ABInBev has achieved impressive growth through acquisition. With the support of beez, ABInBev wanted to demonstrate its ability to grow organically through the launch of a new brand, Cubanisto.

In April 2014, ABInBev launched a new brand Cubanisto in the UK and in France, with a “slow burn” strategy: focus on activating the brand through “House of Masks” parties to bring young adults into the Cubanisto brand universe and have them taste the product. Cubanisto was also in a pre-launch seeding phase in Belgium.

In June 2014, David Sempels, Marketing Director specialties BeneFraLux since June 2012 and Jean-Jacques Velkeniers, recently appointed VP marketing Europe, reached out to beez to provide strategic support and coaching to the Cubanisto marketing team.

They needed beez to support and guide the team on:

    • Identifying the key success factors on the launch to accelerate the implementation of best practises in France, UK & Belgium and to build a launch toolkit for a successful roll-out.
    • Assessing the marketing mix (as well as the agencies developing it) versus ABInBev marketing and business objectives and bring it to life through brand manual including brand core communication idea:
      • Brand positioning and range architecture
      • Brand packaging and visual identity
      • Brand communication

They wanted to take a step back, look again at the Cubanisto marketing mix to make sure ABInBev could make the most out of this brand. The two key questions on the table were:

    • What can be done better or bigger?
    • How can Cubanisto emotionally connect with young adults across Europe?

beez proposed to work in accordance with its consumer-centric Design Thinking methodology.


beez reframed the Cubanisto challenge into sharpening the consumer insight and emotional benefit. Kantar Millward Brown was briefed on a deep-dive on the target group lifestyle in the UK, France and Belgium. The media agency was also briefed on the target group touchpoints in the same countries.

beez then conducted and compiled a comprehensive competitive review of the Cubanisto beer. The main insights – including the implications of the Evin Law in France – were summarised in a pre-reading document sent to all the hackathon participants.


beez organised a 2-day hackathon on 1-2 October 2014.

The hackathon brought together nine managers from AbInBev representing the different departments involved in the Cubanisto launch: marketing and trade marketing professionals from France, Belgium and the UK as well as consumer and market insights people. Representatives from design, activation and media agencies also joined the hackathon. On the eve of 1 October, 16 persons in total met around a nice dinner to break the ice between participants as most of them did not know each other.

On Day 1, the team went through several divergence – creative and explorative – sessions to design data-informed personas and produce relevant consumer insights. The day ended with a convergence session to evaluate and select the most relevant insights. Day 1 closed with a consensus in support of seven insight platforms.

On Day 2, the team went through several divergence and convergence sessions to produce many different emotional benefits and territories related to the insight platforms identified on Day 1Day 2 ended with three brand positionings for Cubanisto, each of which was illustrated with mood boards created by the design agency.


The 2-day hackathon led to an alignment between the ABInBev European and Global marketing teams on Cubanisto global brand positioning. The brand territory for Cubanisto was defined for advertising and activation, within the advertising alcohol regulation context in different European countries.

The hackathon team then wrote the Cubanisto brand story and developed the storytelling for the activation phase.


ABInBev has always been praised for its successful external growth strategy through the acquisition of competitors. With this new product launch, the Belgian multinational drink and brewing company proved to itself that it could also grow organically.

Most importantly, the Cubanisto launch achieved its business targets in the Uk, France and Belgium. In the end, formalising the brand positioning helped to strengthen the brand assets. Moreover, the design agency was able to come with an improved packaging solution. The storytelling around the Cubanisto territory inspired the advertising agency in developing compelling campaigns.

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