It’s not uncommon in the advertising landscape to see brand mascots receive a few design refreshes over the decades to better establish relevance with consumers. Changes to a mascot’s age, while few and far in between, do happen on rare occasions. Rice Krispies’ Snap, Crackle, and Pop were given youthful appearances after their initial introduction on cereal shelves as gnomes.
Now Hofmeister Beer’s iconic George the Bear is returning to the brand with a sophisticated twist.
Reintroducing… George the Bear
Loyal Hofmeister fans will remember George the Bear from his brand mascot heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, George hung out in the Bavarian Forest and only left it for exceptional lager. George, and Hofmister, quickly became associated with the tagline “If you want great lager, follow the bear.”
While George looked fly in his pork pie hat and exhibited exceptional anti-gravity lean dance skills a la Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” music video, it’s a look which was very of the era. George, and Hofmeister, have both gone through changes since then. Hofmeister was originally brewed in England. Entrepreneurs Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers bought the rights to the brand from Heineken and recreated the beer as an authentic Bavarian-brewed Helles lager.
With new, premium drinkers attracted to Hofmeister, it’s time to dust off George for the next generation across the UK and beyond. The new George is polished up by ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) and Nick Gill, who worked on the original George the Bear campaign and is back to create the new, mature face of George in the 2020s.
“I was around at the birth of George at Hofmeister at a time when beer advertising was hugely popular, in the days before social media when everyone was talking about it in the office. We live in a very different world now and much of the humor and irreverence about beer advertising that we all loved, has sadly gone. The time has come for a great beer campaign and we’re very excited about it,” Gill said in a blog post on the Hofmeister website.
“When we got a call a few months ago to ask if were interested in working on the Hofmeister campaign it was like a voice from the past and it took about three seconds to say ‘yes.’ We had no hesitation in bringing back George. He is a loved icon and a fantastic springboard for the new campaign. He’s also ready for a makeover because the beer is now much classier and sophisticated.”
For BBH, the challenge, Gill said, was imagining how George would look now and how he would behave. The beer and the mascot both changed beyond recognition. George’s return needed more sophisticated humor and an incredible look in his tailored new ensemble.
A quick scroll through Hofmeister’s social media accounts reveals George the Bear has truly grown up. He may be a little more discerning in his palate, but his return is sure to put a smile on any fan’s face.
Followers and fans can keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via the hashtag #FollowTheBear. George is also larger than life at the Piccadilly Circus and circulating in print in the Financial Times newspaper.
He’s cool, calm, and collected as can be about his return. There’s even a refreshed tagline to go with his revamped look. “I’m Back. For Classier Beer, Follow the Bear.”