Bombay Sapphire. Blue.

At Vinopolis Will Brix introduced the students to one of the best examples of brand environmentalism I’ve recently seen. There, in the Sapphire Room, Brix provided the students an amazing brand experience. He also shared the fascinating back-story on the brand. Now I could tell you the story from my point of view. But I’d rather let the students share their perspectives on brand environmentalism. Check out the comments below and learn all about…

Bombay Sapphire. Blue.




Filed under Branding, Ethnography

16 responses to “Blue

  1. After listening to Will Brix’s presentation on marketing strategies for Bombay Sapphire, I quickly realized that the entire design of room reflected the brand’s four core values: naturally elegant, worldly, intriguing, and creative. Natural elegance appeared in the room’s sleek design with glass tables and shelving, metal trim, and cable suspensions from the ceiling. Although the fundamentals of the interior seemed simplistic, it created the “natural elegance” that helped the room achieve a decor that was not overworked or busy looking. The display and sampling of the ten different botanicals in the center of the room created a sense of worldliness as Sam discussed how the company’s ingredients for Bombay Sapphire come from various regions across the globe. The element of “intriguing” appears in the unique pieces of art throughout the room such as the tapestry on the wall, the one of a kind aqua blue chair, and the light fixture hanging above the table. Each piece draws the viewers’ eyes in for a closer look. For example, the tapestry on the wall looks like an interesting design, but at a second glance, the viewer can see a peacock emerge in the print. Finally, Bombay Sapphire’s creativeness shines in the company’s search for original thought in the Bombay Sapphire Foundation and Prize in which artists create unique martini glasses to showcase ingenuity and innovation. Like Bombay Sapphire’s distinctive bottle, the Bombay Sapphire room leaves the same distinct memory in consumers’ minds.

  2. Today we visited Vinopolis and spent time with Brand managers at the Blue Bar. The Blue Bar is a unique home for Bombay Sapphire. A london dry gin. We learned about the proecess in which the gin is made, the 10 added botanical ingrediants and followed up with some branding techniques.

    From the instant we walked into the Blue Bar there is a very strong aura. Blue is everywhere: furniture, lights, decorative tapestries, the glass bar counter and evern the knives they cut the lemons with…Every part of the room was decided for a purpose, to represent the brand.

    Quick overview of Bombay Sapphire:
    -London Gin (meaning all ingrediats added to the liquor are botanical and organic)
    -Only gin that uses a vapor infusion production…Most steep the botanicals rather than turning them into a vapor first
    -They have an iconic Blue square bottle with clear gin

    This company used this bar as a meca for their product. For mixologists all over the world this is a place where they can learn new ways of using Bombay Sapphire. It’s a win-win. The bartenders come to the “bartending capital of the world” & Bombay Sapphire gets to educated and promote their product. They use this space very effectivly to lure people into their brand.

    Not only are they effective in their brand image inside the bar, but the location of the bar. Since this is a London Dry gin it creates an even stronger resonance with London bartenders. There is a sense of pride as some may say London Gin is made by Londoners for Londoners.

    After a lovely bartending session they hooked me. I’ll take a Tom Collins with Bombay Sapphire please.

    Cheers! Susan

  3. Blue is a natural color, from the blue of the sky—a universal color. It is a cool, calming and relaxing color that is often used and symbolized to represent a particular emotion or feeling. The way we use different colors today can create visuals for people and lure them into that particular mood.
    Bombay Sapphire, a brand of gin distributed by Bacardi in 1987, uses the color blue to create a visual identity for their product and for their consumers. When you walk into the Bombay Sapphire lounge and bar you are greeted with blue lights, designs and art everywhere all representing the striking translucent blue bottle.

    Bombay Sapphire created their bottle not only to hold their gin, but to represent a sophisticated and naturally elegant brand of gin that their targeted consumers would want to purchase. Bombay Sapphire does a creative way to brand their gin and that is through the use of color. They provide you so much of the color blue everywhere in the area that causes the consumer to have blue implemented into their brain forever. The goal of this branding strategy is to alert people that the sophisticated blue bottle is Bombay Sapphire, and when you see it at a store it will lure you into remembering it and purchasing it.

    Bridget Moore

  4. Katelyn Nolan

    Bombay Sapphire
    When we first walked in to the Bombay Sapphire section of Vinopolis, you immediately got a classy, suave vibe. There were blue lights everywhere, mirroring the bottle’s signature blue color. When Will and Sam talked about the brand, you could tell that it was a brand that one should think highly of. They told us about the three categories of gin: standard, premium and super premium. Bombay Sapphire is proud to be in the premium category. When I asked if, like their competitors, they would ever consider making a gin to be in the super premium category they said that they would consider it, but they prefer being a leading brand in the premium category. The three key things about this brand of gin is that they are unique in their vapor infusion strategy, use ten all natural ingredients, and have their signature designer blue bottle. Their bottle is one thing that sets them apart from other brands. It is such an important asset to their branding and stands out among other spirits bottles. Even super premium brands have tried to imitate their one of a kind look. Bombay Sapphire has been a leading spirits brand in the United States, Spain, the UK and many other countries and has been around sin 1761.

  5. The brewery tour in Vinopolis effectively presents its brand visual identity. Bombay Sapphire aims to inspire the world through encompassing a broad range of design discipline including glass, textiles, furniture and lighting. So the displays, interior designs and lights are all in its brand colour: blue, which also perfectly accord with Bombay Sapphire’s core values: natural elegant and creative.
    Besides, the brewery tour enforces the interaction with consumers through sensory, including taste, smell and sight. The personal experience, trial and interaction with the products are able to help consumers to feel the product and remember its specialness: ten uniquely combined botanicals and delicately balanced taste.
    Moreover, the brewery tour is also a way to showcase its success of the important PR campaign, Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition. During the tour, visitors can see the glass design artworks standing out in the competition as well as the creative designs from other famous artists. There’s one common thing among all of these artworks, which employs Bombay Sapphire’s brand colour — blue.

    – Yiting

  6. Feelin’ Blue with Bombay Sapphire

    On Thursday, we got a sneak peek into the branding of Bombay Sapphire premium gin. Our gracious hosts and former bartenders Will and Sam welcomed us to the Blue Room inside the Vinopolis London facility ( Inside the Blue Room, it’s immediately apparent that this is a space that truly embodies the Bombay Sapphire brand and the brand experience that they want consumers to have. Like the signature blue bottle that marks the gin’s brand, everything about the experience is has a tint of blue.

    We began in the bar room, where a striking blue bar was backed by a giant encased sapphire-blue (Swarovski?) crystal and rows of the iconic blue bottle of gin. Every detail of the room was highlighted by an almost neon-blue, from the lights reflecting off of the metallic walls to the blue bottles of mineral water at our tables. The atmosphere felt more like a nightclub than a training/meeting room.

    After the brief introduction, Sam walked us through the Bombay Sapphire vapor distillation process and each of the 10 main ingredients that compose the gin’s unique flavor. Again, this educational area was emphasized by the blue lighting of the displays and glowing bottles of the gin’s ingredient essences. The lighting provided a calm, cool feeling even though it was mid-day and the sun was shining on the marketplace just outside the facility.

    In the other half of the second room, elements of design were at the forefront. This side of the room featured a branded blue iconic chair on a pedestal, a striking woven rug designed specifically for the brand hanging from the wall, and an elegant, modern plexiglass table for guests to sit. These elements complemented the custom designed educational area. Design was further emphasized by a row of unique martini glasses in cases, each an individual work of art by a specific artist and made for Bombay Sapphire.

    Afterwards, we gathered around the bar to taste some of Bombay’s signature drinks – Tom Collins, a Tom Collins with blueberries and basil, a gin martini, and a rose-flavored martini. Sam explained each step of the process and made us feel at home with his comedic timing and storytelling, again embodying a great bartender and brand ambassador, hitting all of his key messages without missing a beat.


  7. All I can say is WOW! I have seen some incredible examples of companies really holding true to ther brand image before, but the Bombay Sapphire Louge was amazing. I knew as soon as we trued the corner into the room that it was for Bombay Saphire Gin. Working at a country club in the States, a popular drink amoung members in a Bombay Saphire Gin Martini so I am very familiar with the brand, the drinks that people like to make with it, and the consumers who drink it. The lounge was swanky and contemporary with a vivid saphire blue splashed all over from the walls, to art, to lighting to furniture. The place looked high class, and luxurious. I think the member of the club who enjoy Bombay Saphire would feel right at home in the lounge area sipping on a cocktail. The attire of the bartender was also very fitting. Wearing modern suits with the Bombay Saphire Crystal Pins further pushed the brand to a level of luxury that let you know the Bombay is a premium spirit. I had never tried Bombay Saphire gin or gin in general before and I have to say I felt rich and fancy sipping my tom collins and martinis. The Bombay Lounge was a perfect example of how a brand can carry their message, and ‘spirit’ to all avenues of their company so consumers can really get a feel for what they are all about.


  8. Walking into the Bombay Sapphire room was an experience in itself. It was clear that the room was meant to emphasize the brand. When any person walked into the room, it was an experience rather than just a facility. Every detail was thought of to make sure that the brand experience was correctly displayed. The entire room focused on a blue theme, to match the distinct branding image of the Bombay Sapphire blue bottle. Following along with the blue was a clear glass color. This matched with the colors of the bottle and the color of the gin. The blue bar was unique in the blue glass used for the surface of the bar. The bartender used a blue knife, and gave us blue and clear straws.

    I found it extremely interesting how they created the design foundation. Incorporating the design community into the experience of the brand created a distinct image of elegance and allowed for them to incorporate the glass designs and other artworks into their advertisements and the room.


  9. The first thing I noticed when I walked into Bombay was their pride in their appearance. Although they had us taste the 10 wordly botanicals, everything always went back to their bottle design. The modern installations mimicked the bottle. The color scheme was white, blue and silver, like the iconic bottle. Even the chairs and tables were made of clear fibreglass. The entire building design paid homage to their bottle. Also, the old brick walls and ceiling were juxtaposed against the modern installations and fixtures. This mimics the brand in that it is old, honouring the queen, and at the same time, it has a modern bottle design. Also, the Bombay Sapphire Foundation focused solely on the bottle design. I found all of this particularly intriguing once I found out they wanted to be known less for their design and more by their taste and tradition. This is clearly an ongoing problem for them.

  10. Jon McDonald

    Today we were treated to a respectable visit at the Blue Bar in London’s Venopolis. This is the stronghold/homebase for the prestigious Bombay Sapphire. It is a London gin made by Bacardi. Here we learned the complex process of Sapphire’s production and the great care that family-owned Bacardi gives to the brand’s consistency.
    The room itself was nestled inside London’s famed Venopolis wine center. Although fairly secluded, Sapphire’s presence was made well known throughout the facility. Holding a glowing blue tone with sharp, square-cut edges, the room itself mirrored the character and image of the brand.
    A presentation given by Will Brix, Sapphire’s Experience General Manager, stressed the importance of the brand’s marketing and why it has experienced continuous success.
    This experience was a tremendous opportunity that we were lucky to have. I learned first-hand the importance of defining a brand and maintaining consistency.
    Brix addressed the competition and how they are addressing the gin market. This showed the diversity of brand strategy and the different results that may emerge. Tanqueray, for example, launched a new type of gin that actually converted previous Tanqueray consumers, having little effect on developing a new market. Brix then suggested that they might discontinue the line in order to preserve loyalty to the original brand. This was an interesting point that makes sense in the long run, but made me contemplate the idea of redirecting loyalists when they’ve found something they like.
    Brix also explained why Bombay is not the #1 gin in the world. The levels of quality placed Bombay in the middle of three categories. The upper positions were held by a premium Tanqueray and a newcomer. Brix seemed unshaken and secure in his brand’s strength by addressing the weaknesses of these specialty products. The newcomers tend to have little staying power, with a strong entry and short finish. Some of them, he mentioned, are technically not gin at all. Some products use the name until they are properly reviewed and declared not to be gin. By that time, they have achieved brand recognition and can simply remove the word “gin” from the label.
    Overall, this experience was astounding. We were treated the same as potential investors and major accounts. It was a flattering experience that truly demonstrated the brand’s luxurious image. Their target impressions were expressed and maintained throughout the entire presentation. I now know the detail and beauty of Bombay Sapphire.

  11. Bombay Blue Saphire
    We learned a lot today at our meeting with Bombay Blue Sapphire at Vinopololis. Will and Sam walked us through an introduction with both gin and their specific brand, Bombay. We learned about not only gin itself, but what kind of tactics their company uses to make their brand of gin as successful as it is. Bombay’s brand presence lives in numerous companies, which was shown on a map. The map highlighted existing markets, developing markets, and entering markets. However, some countries were not included, and when I asked why, he explained to the group that laws, cultural differences, and import tax fees would make it very expensive and inefficient to enter into those markets, namely India which has a 200% import tax.
    As the group began to discuss the future of the brand, molecular mixology was mentioned. Molecular mixology changes the face of bartending. Bombay Blue Sapphire sees itself currently as a leader in creating pathways into new technologies and ways of thinking, and the brand believes it will be one of the first to pioneer and embrace the new technology of molecular biology. Sam also happened to have a specialty in this particular field as well
    I thought that the way Will talked about US markets as being very brand loyal was quite interesting. He was born in Iowa, and moved to the UK at age ten. He explained to us that we are brand loyal, which is great for the brands we’re loyal to, but there is much challenge when it comes to quality of product and that type of consideration. In other words, it is great to be loyal to a brand, but Americans sometimes don’t consider how that brand has changed in detriment to the consumer over time or that other products and services man provide better quality and overall satisfaction.
    In terms of branding, the color and shape of the bottle was very important because it is a large part of what distinguishes their brands from competitors. The bottle has an image of Queen Victoria on it, yet it is juxtaposed with a very modern bottle.
    As the brand manager described it, the consumer of Bombay Blue Sapphire aspires to be naturally elegant, worldly, intriguing, and creative, kind of like what we all as advertising students in Europe.


  12. Jim

    Today at Bombay we visited and listened to two people: Will and Sam. Will was the general manager and a lot of his time was dedicated to the Sapphire room, while Sam was the brand expert and also a experienced bartender. While in the exquisit rooms, there were a notable amount of branding items that made that section of Vinopolis true to its Bombay Sapphire brand of dry gin. There is an incredible amount of history and physical labor that goes into the final product that is displayed in the first room. When you enter the second room, there is a bar that is exclusively Bombay Sapphire.

    As I mentioned, these two sections are packed full of marketing materials that enhance the brand and make it true to its name. Rather than listing each element in the room, I want to focus on how these individual elements improved the brand image.

    1. The scaled down distillery
    This gives each individual entering the room an idea of the unique process that Bombary uses and how it translates into a superior product.

    2. The circular station with all of the botanical elements
    After hearing the logic and reasoning behind each element and why it was chosen, one would know that this form of gin is truely wordly and is unmatched in the industry.

    3. The “winner’s glass design” hallway
    This is a great example of how Bombay is integrating different promotional elements into their overall brand image. By portraying the top martini designs, they show off their creative mindset and how that relates directly to their products.

    4. The “Sapphire Bar”
    This area is their pride and joy. When visiting the bar and experiencing first hand how a true martini is made; the variety and distinction Bombay Sapphire adds to this aspect of a cocktail is another sign of their superior brand prescense.

    These four aspects that I hit on directly corrolates on Bombay’s core values; natural elements, worldy, intriguing, and creative. By having those four elements be the dominate focus of the Sapphire rooms, it strengthens their brand name and image. When distributors and bartenders come to this place for training they will certainly make the connection and develop a brand loyal mindset, which they will convery to the paying customers.

  13. Walking into the Bombay Sapphire room was an experience in itself. It was clear that the room was meant to emphasize the brand. When any person walked into the room, it was an experience rather than just a facility. Every detail was thought of to make sure that the brand experience was correctly displayed. The entire room focused on a blue theme, to match the distinct branding image of the Bombay Sapphire blue bottle. Following along with the blue was a clear glass color. This matched with the colors of the bottle and the color of the gin. The blue bar was unique in the blue glass used for the surface of the bar. The bartender used a blue knife, and gave us blue and clear straws.

    I found it extremely interesting how they created the design foundation. Incorporating the design community into the experience of the brand created a distinct image of elegance and allowed for them to incorporate the glass designs and other artworks into their advertisements and the room.


  14. Jamie

    Our day with Bombay,

    Today at Vinopolis, it was easy to spot how the Bombay room and everything inside of it reflected the brand image. Everything in the rooms were the same colour pallet as the Bombay logo and bottle: white, gold, and transparent blue. The furnishing in the room, such as the tables and lighting were very elegant and sophisticated just like the image of the Bombay brand, as well as the music lightly playing in the background. The branding was reinforced by the rug and chair designed that was used in Bombay marketing and advertisings. It was filled with sophisticated glasses as part of a design contest held by Bombay and supported by the Bombay Sapphire foundation.
    Even the workers or perhaps it would be more accurate to say; especially the workers represented the brand itself. Sam, was wearing a very elegant three piece suit with a blue undershirt, and Will also was dressed in a nice suit with a white shirt, sticking to the Bombay colour scheme. I thought that Sam especially represented the brand with his very mature and proper personality. He was fun yet in a very sophisticated and upscale way. From the wall decorations, to the lighting, to the personalities of the employees, everything about our visit to the Bombay Sapphire room was consistent with three things: sophisticated, elegant, mature.

  15. Bombay Sapphire
    Our time meeting with the people of Bombay Sapphire was fascinating. Not only were the rooms amazingly decorated, but the tour was very informative. I never knew that all of those ingredients went into this brand of gin, or that they came from 8 different countries around the world. I could tell that they really prided themselves on being a worldly brand. I was never a huge gin fan, but this trip might have inspired me to investigate gin a little more. The people working for Bombay Sapphire were very passionate about their product. They emphasized the quality of the gin and how they have stuck by their product throughout the years. Other companies have tried variations of their product to try to increase sales, but I like how Bombay Sapphire has just concentrated on their one brand. It’s refreshing to see a brand that really cares a lot about what they are representing.
    The bartending lesson was also much different than I had expected. I’m used to seeing bartenders at home just throwing a drink together quickly without caring too much about how good of a drink they just made. The bartender we saw from Sapphire paid a lot of attention to detail. He made sure that the drink was as good as he could make it. This emphasized the fact that Bombay wants consumers to realize that their product is about quality.

  16. Bombay Sapphire taught me a lot about global branding and positioning. The alcohol brand is owned by Bacardi, which is the third largest alcohol company in the world (Diageo is number one). Will and Sam talked to us about Bombay Sapphire’s plans for the future, some of their specialty drinks, and their current marketing platform.

    First of all, the atmosphere was really cool and perfectly fit the mood and feel of the brand. Since the bottle of Bombay Sapphire is bright blue, the room was accented with bright blue pieces – lighting, signs, bottles, pictures, and a bright blue bar, just to name a few. The core values of the brand are –

    • Naturally Elegant
    • Worldly
    • Intriguing
    • Creative

    The room was all of those four adjectives combined. The atmosphere was cool, calm, and sophisticated. It really set the tone for the presentation and gave us a better understanding of their brand position.

    After a brief introduction of the company and brand, Sam mixed a few cocktails for us to sample. Delicious. If they were trying to persuade us to drink Bombay Sapphire in the future, it definitely worked.

    Will followed with a presentation outlining Bombay Sapphire’s marketing strategy, position, and basic values. The first secret recipe was created in England in 1761, and the number 1761 is written on the bottle to stress the importance and historical significance of the company. The brand stresses three important aspects in order to differentiate itself from its competitors –

    • Bombay Sapphire is made with ten different botanicals from around the world to create its distinct flavor
    • It has a “refined and delicately balanced taste”
    • The “striking translucent” blue bottle is both alluring and beautiful

    Its key competitors are Beefeater Gin (the number one global premium gin brand), Tanqueray (the number one premium brand in America), and Hendricks (the number one super premium gin brand). Bombay Sapphire maintains its position in the alcohol market as sophisticated, mature, dignified, and of quality. Its target market is a 28 year-old male with a higher education and income, living a busy life but wanting to make the most of his free time. “Thomas”, as the brand calls this target, is mature and worldy and wants to live a life of quality, creativity, and style.

    Bombay Sapphire’s market platform, in my opinion, was very well thought out and very solid. They have a great position and have consistently stuck with their core values to promote their brand.


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