Polar Selection Is Simply Devine

Mass. Beverage Maker Hires D&P to Recast Its Flagship Brand
BOSTON-Polar Corp. has selected Devine & Pearson for an advertising and design assignment.
The immediate mission: create new packaging and logos for the Worcester, Mass.-based client’s flagship Polar Beverages brand of flavored seltzers and sodas.
A regional campaign re-introducing the brand in New England and New York is on tap for the spring.
Ad plans have not been finalized, but Devine & Pearson will likely handle creative and media chores, said Gerald Martin, director of marketing and strategic planning at the client. Spending is estimated in the low-seven-figure range, he said.
The Quincy, Mass., agency was selected following a review of about a half-dozen undisclosed shops.
Winstanley Associates, Lenox, Mass., which has worked on the brand for the past several years, participated in the competition. Polar management believed the shop “was a little too close to the brand” and chose Devine & Pearson based on the shop’s packaged-goods background, Martin said.
“It’s not like we fired [Winstanley]” or were displeased with the shop’s work, he said.
Instead, the client decided that after more than 10 years without a major redesign, a fresh approach was necessary, Martin said.
Nathan Winstanley, Winstanley president, said he understood Polar’s decision to hire Devine & Pearson since the focus of the assignment, at least initially, is package design.
Winstanley will continue to work on other assignments for the client, including its Cape Cod Dry and Fuentes de Plata soft-drink brands, Martin said. Winstanley’s current radio and print work for the Polar brand uses the tagline, “The one with the flavors.”
The beverage company was founded in 1882, and the “Polar” identity adopted about 20 years later. “We believe there’s a lot of equity in that [bear],” Martin said. With that in mind, Devine & Pearson’s effort to update the packaging and logo will be, “evolutionary, not revolutionary,” said agency official Jon Craine. “We want to bring the brand along but not make a radical change.”
Privately held Polar posted 1998 revenues of about $165 million, per industry journal Beverage World, making it the largest independent soft-drink bottler in the country.