Do you know this face?! Such a unique red, those mischievous eyes, that fetching smile and that stylish look: it’s the Laughing Cow of course! In all countries alike, 130 to be exact, she looks at us with an amused and protective eye. In one look she gives us joy and cheerfulness in one glance for over 100 years.
The historical ambassador of laughter
It all started 155years ago in iconic Jura region when Jules Bel, founder of the Bel dynasty, set himself up as a cheese refiner near Lons-le-Saunier. It is during this period that he develops a new way of refining the cheese that allowed them to travel longer and thus better! It’s his son Léon Bel that took over the family business in 1904. When he came back from his service in the military train where they would recognize their trucks to the humoristic drawings. He remembered one particular illustration of a laughing cow that was called “the Wachkyrie” (playing on Wagner’s work the Walkirie) when he gave a name to his cheese. It’s from this idea the Vache qui Rit later translated to the Laughing Cow got started and the saga of one of the most eaten cheese in the world.
The birth of an icon
In 1923, Léon Bel dreamt of a mascot to embody his brand. He called Benjamin Rabier the one who had drawn “the Wachkyrie” to draw the face of the michevous cow that we know today. With his agreement and with his wife’s recommendation, he commissioned his printer to color its face red and add an earring in the shape of one of his iconic cheese box. This is how the unforgettable infinitely repeating image was born…
A great design and advertising saga
In 1950 the face of the mascot is softened; her horns are blunted and 4 stars as sign of quality are added above a golden shield. In order to persue her expansion after the war, the Laughing Cow invests in press, posters are put up in the streets, metro, on buses and are shown at the movies and TV. In 1985 proud of her roots the Jura landscape makes its great comeback on the boxes. Ever since then, the Laughing Cow is proud to be the ambassador of the soft mountain features and grassy valleys that dot the Jura. The Brand’s communication like her design shows her adaptability over the years, elevating the Laughing Cow to become an icon of pop culture.
From popular imagery to re-found iconicity
One does not become a universal icon that easily! It’s with a lot of courage that Bel has accompanied its strategic teams and the creative team at Team Creatif to re-affirme the Laughing Cow’s large smile. Our driving conviction was to get back to what made the essence itself of the brand : the Laughing Cow.
Thus the mascot has emancipated itself from the idyllic setting and freed itself from the triangle to be front and center on a simple background. Our Creative Director simplified, softened and tilted the head and its iconic accessories. It gives her look more spontaneous as if she was laughing. It seemed so evident! The Laughing Cow fully takes on her stature as an icon this way.
New design, new era
In order to re-establish the product in the airy universe we intuitively choose the color white. A pure color, that reveals the essentiality and simplicity of the product. In order to re-enforce and re-instate the natural character we added a natural matter: wood and a garnish of fresh herbs.
The triangle becomes iconic of the “food form” from now on and indicates on each box the number of slices. The product thus became fresher and more convenient with the addition of a few drops of milk and a more taste-driven tone of voice.
To top it off, the side of the box (often very visible on shelf) is adorned with a historic blue and white zebra and the addition of a zoomed in mascot and the triangular portion. The design thus really elevates the Brand to the rank of icon and re-incarnates the distinctive icons in a timeless way. With this design we enter a new era: ready for the next 100 years!
A global recognition
The design of the new boxes will be rolled out across the 130 countries over the year 2020 and it has been thought to be both a global expression and locally oriented by Team Creatif with the help of the Bel teams. It will be refined through consumer testing in quite a few countries. The difficulties in navigation (the comprehension of the different varieties) will be translated using a structure that will ease the “eye-tracking” and a color-coding system that will be impactful visually. We will also take on board the specific expectations of the different countries with special claims that will be adapted to local consumer’s expectations.
But it is truly the incredible popularity of the Brand and its product that really allowed us to put in place a universal design and free ourselves from the photo of the toast or the food representation across the whole world. It’s both what gives strength to the design and what nourishes the Brand by allowing her to communicate her vision and her unique philosophy.
Because it’s better to laugh!
The new Team Creatif design launch will be supported by a vast and global communication campaign produced by the advertising agency Providence. In this ad, the icon is highlighted and invites consumers to t choose to laugh at life with the Laughing Cow “because it’s better to laugh!”