Big Mood was born out of lockdown number one, 2020. The idea for the brand did not yet exist, but Ed Loveday (ex-Acme, Bar Brose, Prince of York) had already trialled his own bottled cocktail brand — remember Bottl(ed)? — and when he joined Solotel as their Special Projects Manager, the hospitality group was already looking for a way to future proof the business. As we all now know, the latter half of 2021 was a tough time for the hospitality industry. Takeaway, delivery and moving into product became the new normal.
One content and editorial strategy, two shoots, a few content plans and a 2021 lockdown launch later, here we are. It’s been a wild, fun ride helping build this brand from the ground up. One last proud client moment before we dive in: Big Mood has been selling out at DRNKS most weeks, should you want to sample. Here’s how it’s all played out over the past six months…
Consult and strategy:
Launching a product is an entirely different beast to launching a restaurant. It raises the kinds of questions we live to get stuck into. Is it a growing category? Is it tapping into current behaviour change? How’s it made? What does it represent beyond being a product on a digital or IRL shelf? Is it delicious?
By the time Ed and Juliana, Big Mood’s Creative Manager, approached us in March 2021, the core range was designed and in production. They had the full support of Solotel behind them, a mini distribution plan and brand guidelines. Their brief to us: help build out the Big Mood world and launch it into a, by now, well-worn pre-batch cocktail space.
Scenes from the launch shoot.
Photography by Nikki To.
Copy, tone and art direction:
In a bottled cocktail sea of millennial minimalism, Big Mood’s Balearic graphic shapes and clashing colours, set it apart from the get-go. Their vision for Big Mood made it more than a bottled cocktail — it sits at the intersection of art, fashion, design and culture. Born out of lockdown, it is inherently a product of its time. A crowded party fantasy, if you will. Everything from the messaging, look and feel, photography and tone of voice needed to reflect its eccentricity, maximalism, and appeal to the zeitgeist.
For inspiration, we looked beyond food and drink to Gen Z beauty brands, fashion and rave posters from the ’90s, and Memphis-style interior design from the ‘80s. We gave each cocktail in the core range its own personality broken into time of day, mood, occasion and pop culture reference. The copy and tone of voice had to be self-referential: chatty, smart, inclusive, at times chaotic, leaning on lowercase captions, sporadic CAPSLOCK and DM-slang. Less ad guy, more tipsy human texting a friend at 10pm.
In our content strategy, we came up with a few designed verticals to help bring the incredible existing branding suite to life over their socials. Nothing over the top, but content along the lines of these collages, moodboards and the occasional meme. Beyond that, it’s all Juli, baby. Hats off to her branding, creative direction, design execution, and a brand package so full of shapes, fonts and colours, there will never be a dull moment managing Big Mood’s feed.
Dream brand work by Juliana Altzate.
Applied design by Buffet's Julia Bowdler.
Getting ready to launch: original content
To launch, one needs owned content, ideally mapped out in two phases: teaser and evergreen. Lucky for us, Big Mood signed on for two shoots: a video for launch and a lifestyle shoot for phase two (which we are in right now). Once rolled out, the press requests began rolling into their DMs. Consider it PR by proxy.
The video concept all began with a simple enough idea. Projections! House party but abstract! Shadow play! A dancer! Having a vision in your head is one thing; having the technical wherewithal to pull it off is another. A great team, and a client willing to give you creative rope (and budget) goes a long, long way. All hands were on deck to direct, storyboard and produce, from sourcing the talent and a killer videographer and DOP to designing the projection art and commissioning original music. The final export? A master launch video, social cutdowns and product photography sent live over six weeks. Take a look.
Slices from our launch video.
Videography by Will Suen.
For shoot number two, we needed lifestyle photography to roll out on Big Mood’s socials, website and in-store activations over the coming months. The concept? A fun night in, basically. We kicked off in Sydney’s Chinatown (for snacks!), continued on to a rooftop for sunset cocktails before settling in at a friend’s place for the night. To play into the intersection of food and fashion, we enlisted a fashion photographer, models from Kult and Stone Street, and sourced props from Poppy Lissiman and Fisch. True to brief it was, in the end, an extremely fun evening, which comes through in the finished shots. Honorable mention goes to a spontaneous photobomb by this auntie, who was live-streaming us to her family in the middle of the shot.
A spontaneous cameo makes the shot.
Light by Fisch, photo by Joshua Bentley.
BAU and on the horizon:
Yeah, coming up with the Big Ideas is fun... but have you ever tried content planning? Rolling out the day-to-day may not be as glamorous as doing this, but it is just as important. At Buffet, we do both. Translating your strategy to a live feed, website journal or email newsletter is the final test — because it is, most importantly, what the customer will interact with day-to-day. As Content Editor Molly Urquhart mentioned in her Paranormal Case Study, a good strategy is never static. With quarterly content reports, we continue to tweak tactics to drive growth and engagement, as well as touch base weekly to tap into cultural events like the Met Gala or a #trending meme. As for what one can expect to see over the next 6 months? Maybe editorial, maybe TikTok, maybe a website, maybe even a party. Our lips are sealed. Follow along for more 🙃
Feeling overwhelmed about launching a brand, or giving an existing one a refresh? Get in touch, we’re here to get things rolling.