CARLOTZ TAPS RICHMOND-BASED AD AGENCY FOR BIG CAMPAIGN

FEBRUARY 22, 2019

 
Justin Bajan (left) and Dustin Artz recently launched Familiar Creatures creative agency.

Justin Bajan (left) and Dustin Artz recently launched Familiar Creatures creative agency.

 
 

BY TAMMIE SMITH

Richmond-based vehicle consignment company CarLotz has tapped relatively new ad agency Familiar Creatures to develop a major advertising campaign.

“We love the chance to help grow a disruptive startup who just happens to be based right here in Richmond,” said Dustin Artz, co-founder and creative director of Familiar Creatures.

Familiar Creatures will be working alongside Spurrier Group, which is handling media planning and buying for CarLotz.

The targeted campaign will launch in April with media buys in Chicago, Tampa, Fla., and San Antonio,  Artz said.

Artz and Justin Bajan, former employees of The Martin Agency, formed Familiar Creatures in 2018. Their first project was helping Nelson County-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co. freshen up its look.

“I knew Familiar Creatures was the perfect agency for us because they’re small and nimble like CarLotz but can deliver killer creative work that is strategically sound. I am fully confident that they will take our brand to the next level,” CarLotz's Elizabeth Maksim, director of branding, said in a statement.

Founded in 2011, CarLotz has eight store locations across Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

Read the full article on Richmond Times Dispatch.

 

 
 

DEVILS BACKBONE BRINGS BEER PACKAGING TO LIFE WITH AR

FEBRUARY 13, 2019

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BY ROBERT WILLIAMS

BRIEF:

  • Craft brewery Devils Backbone aims to connect with beer lovers with its latest packaging that comes to life on mobile screens in augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital images on the real views of a smartphone camera. Devils Backbone also created an app for Apple and Android devices, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.

  • By scanning printed QR codes on its packaging with a cell phone camera, viewers can see animated stories about its Vienna Lager, Golf Leaf Lager and Striped Bass Ale, letting the brewer tell the story of its beer.

  • The Vienna Lager features a barn swallow that does bird impressions; the Striped Bass Pale Ale has a soulful bass fish that sings about oyster restoration and clean water in Chesapeake Bay; and Gold Leaf Lager shows an impatient dog whose personality contrasts with the brewer's "Slow by nature" slogan.

INSIGHT:

Devils Backbone aims to tell a brand story in a way that's hard to convey as beer shoppers browse dozens of brands, many with bright packaging but quirky and unfamiliar names. By letting shoppers scan its packaging with a smartphone to activate AR animations, the brewery can provide the equivalent of a TV commercial at a fraction of the cost of media placements. Young adults who are the biggest buyers of craft brews tend to seek brands that are socially conscious and feel more personalized, and Devils Backbone can show its commitment to environment causes like cleaning up pollution in Chesapeake Bay.

Read the full article on Mobile Marketer.

 

 
 

BEER & BRANDING: DEVILS BACKBONE REBRAND

DECEMBER 4, 2018

 
Anheuser-Busch acquired Devils Backbone in 2016.

Anheuser-Busch acquired Devils Backbone in 2016.

 
 

BY JACK MULDOWNEY

Timed with their 10th anniversary in 2018, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. is modernizing its brand with all new packaging, as well as a refreshed logo, for the first time since brewing its first beer 10 years ago. As the brewery states it, the new packaging design is meant to “exemplify its friendly, approachable, and outdoor personality and ‘Slow by Nature’ messaging.” The look and feel of the packaging refresh is based on a “modern travel poster” with illustrations featuring Virginia outdoor and landscape scenes. To achieve this, Devils Backbone built an impressive creative team (it helps to have A-B money to play with!), enlisting the expertise of Charlottesville-based design agency Okay Yellow in partnership with Familiar Creatures and two different, renowned illustrators: Award-winning Colorado-based illustrator, Brian Miller and Canadian illustrator of over 25 years, David Moore. Whew, did ya catch all that?

The illustrations for each beer are really the homerun of this rebrand. Each bottle label and 6-pack features a custom die cut reflecting the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains, paired with stylized beer names unique to each beer. Those elements, set against the beautiful travel-poster-inspired illustrations create a foundation for the Devils Backbone portfolio, for each beer going forward.

Looking ahead, Devils Backbone’s will continue to roll out new pieces of their new marketing campaign launching in 2019: “Slow by Nature.” This campaign exemplifies how Devils Backbone takes its time making lagers in the Virginia Heartland–a place nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains away from the hustle and bustle of life.

We’ll be patiently awaiting its rollout in ‘19…

Read the full article on The Hop Review.

 

 
 

DEVILS BACKBONE CELEBRATES VIRGINIA WITH NEW PACKAGING

OCTOBER 18, 2018

Artists Joel Artz and Dustin Artz working on the new packages. Photograph by Jessica Humphreys, courtesy Devils Backbone.

Artists Joel Artz and Dustin Artz working on the new packages. Photograph by Jessica Humphreys, courtesy Devils Backbone.

 
 
 

BY ANDREW BEAUJON

When Anheuser-Busch bought bought the Virginia brewery Devils Backbone in 2016, many beer fans feared the transaction would take the “local” out of what was then considered a craft brewery. Those qualms may have abated as time passed. The biggest effect, from your average beer enthusiast’s point of view, anyway, was that it got easier to find Devils Backbone beers at the supermarket.

Starting last month, those customers may have finally noticed a change to the company’s products: Now they show off more of their home state. The old packaging grew organically in the company’s first decade in business, says Marisa Black, Devils Backbone’s director of marketing. While most products hewed to Devils Backbone’s distinctive illustration style, things could get a bit eclectic. “When you put it all on the shelf together, it looked like packaging from six different breweries,” she says. 

There was another problem: The Mid-Atlantic provenance of the beer wasn’t always clear. The packaging for its seasonal Danzig porter, for instance, showed a wind-battered town on the Baltic Sea; the art on its popular Vienna Lager didn’t necessarily evoke Virginia’s beauty. “We wanted to tell less a story of Vienna in Austria and more of a story of where we’re from,” Black says.

So Devils Backbone engaged Charlottesville design firm Okay Yellow and Richmond agency Familiar Creatures to rethink its packaging. The result recalls travel posters from the 1930s and ’40s, all showing scenes from Virginia. “There isn’t that nationally known culture of Virginia that people can say, ‘Oh this is what’s in Virginia,'” Black says, adding that the company is hoping to help change that.

Read the full article on Washingtonian.

 

 
 

BIZ BUZZ: NEW AD AGENCY FRESHENS UP DEVILS BACKBONE BREWERY LOOK

OCTOBER 14, 2018

 
Justin Bajan (left) and Dustin Artz recently launched Familiar Creatures creative agency.

Justin Bajan (left) and Dustin Artz recently launched Familiar Creatures creative agency.

 
 

BY TAMMIE SMITH

New advertising agency Familiar Creatures is helping Nelson County-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co. freshen up its look.

Dustin Artz and Justin Bajan are the creatives behind the new agency, which has an office in Richmond.

Artz said his brother’s agency, Okay Yellow in Charlottesville, designed Devils Backbone packaging for several years.

Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired craft brewery Devils Backbone in 2016. Artz said his brother Joel Artz and Okay Yellow had to compete for the account.

“So I helped him pitch and retain the business against three large, out-of-town agencies, led the identity and packaging redesign for him, and then started Familiar Creatures to handle their advertising business,” Dustin Artz said.

A full advertising campaign is coming in the next couple of months, he said.

At Familiar Creatures, Dustin Artz is in charge of art direction and design. Bajan oversees writing. Steph Shaw oversees accounts.

All three are former employees of The Martin Agency. Artz is a VCU Brandcenter graduate. Bajan is a graduate of The Creative Circus, and Shaw graduated from the University of Tennessee.

Read the full article on Richmond Times Dispatch.

 

 
 

HOW DEVILS BACKBONE GOT THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS ONTO A SIX PACK

TWO YEARS AFTER ITS ACQUISITION BY ANHEUSER-BUSCH, THE VIRGINIA CRAFT BREW GETS MORE POLISHED PACKAGING

SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

 
Anheuser-Busch acquired Devils Backbone in 2016.

Anheuser-Busch acquired Devils Backbone in 2016.

 
 

BY ROBERT KLARA

During the golden age of travel—before the internet, even before television—Americans who saved up their dollars would wander into a travel office and be dazzled by the color lithographs on the wall: travel posters of romantic and exotic destinations, rendered in a gauzy, dreamlike state so alluring you wanted to step inside. For shipping lines and railroads hoping to lure customers, the posters were the most effective marketing of their era.

All of that pretty much ended with WWII, but the dreamy aesthetic of the travel poster still possesses its power to draw consumers’ attention—and now, that power is being harnessed by an unlikely company: Anheuser-Busch.

Not Budweiser, though. In 2016, A-B acquired a craft brew called Devils Backbone, which enjoyed a loyal following in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Now, two years after that purchase, and 10 years after Devils Backbone first poured from the tanks, the brand has just debuted a new visual identity inspired by travel posters of yore. In this case, the “destination” is Nelson County, a lush and misty tract of 474 square miles in central Virginia crowned by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the northwest. The county isn’t just the home of the brewery, it’s central to the beer’s history and, hence, a fitting theme for the packaging.

“Until about six months ago, you could barely make a cellphone call here, so it very much feels like a destination—that sense of being able to get away from it all, or celebrating slow moments,” said Devils Backbone marketing director Marisa Black. “We wanted to do that on the pack. Not a ton of people know how gorgeous the area is.”

Developed by design shop Okay Yellow with a creative assist from Familiar Creatures, the new packaging features romantic settings that correspond to the multiple varieties the brand sells—an eruption of fall foliage for Gold Leaf Golden Lager, an underwater aquamarine tableau for Striped Bass Pale Ale, and so on. The bottle caps match the predominating colors of the labels and bottle carriers. Each scene evokes the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains chain, which is so central to the brand’s identity.

Read the full article on Adweek.