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Tauranga agency brings home the honey

27 November 2019

Tauranga-based creative branding agency, Society, has won two major awards for its highly crafted design and packaging of a rare Mānuka honey.

On 9 November,Society came away with a coveted ‘Distinction’ award at the Australian Grand Design Awards (AGDA) in Brisbane. These awards recognise the best work in Australia across a wide range of disciplines, and Society was one of only a handful of Kiwi agencies in the mix.

A month earlier, the two-man agency took out a ‘Silver’ award at the Best Design Awards in Auckland – New Zealand’s annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design.

“It’s amazing to see some of the smaller agencies, like us, up there competing with the big guys,” says Tom Lear, one of Society’s founding partners. “We created Society to offer clients a new approach to branding that’s based on storytelling, fresh ideas and small – but high-impact – details.”

Tom and business partner Pete Radich opened Society’s doors on Devonport Road less than two years ago and have since been making waves across the Bay of Plenty and beyond with their personalised approach to ‘helping society fall in love with brands’.

“We’ve executed some unique projects over this time, but the concept we brought to life for BeeNZ really stepped things up a notch,” says Pete.

BeeNZ is a family owned and operated business in Katikati. David and Julie Hayes manage the entire honey journey from hive to bottle – they’re the beekeeper, extractor, processor, packer and exporter – which is a very rare occurrence in the New Zealand honey industry.

“BeeNZ found themselves with a barrel of their highest ever UMF rating Mānuka honey,” explains Pete. “The UMF grading system appraises natural markers found in Mānuka honey, with a Superior High Grade being UMF16+. We were dealing with UMF29+, so the pressure was on to do this incredible product justice!”

Pete and Tom were tasked with conceptualising and producing a custom and highly crafted packaging design to present the product as a luxury item for both local and international consumers.

They came up with a key narrative that was both simple and punchy: You are now in possession of New Zealand Mānuka honey so rare, it may never be made again.

“We wanted to take people on a journey to learn how this rare Mānuka honey was nurtured by Mother Earth and crafted by the Hayes family. Our approach was to hero the product’s four main pillars – time, place, climate, and the honey bee – and tell its story through a luxury unboxing experience,” says Tom.

All materials were specifically sourced and meticulously chosen to play tribute to the honey inside.

“The dark green was inspired by the deep remote bush of New Zealand where the high potency Mānuka is sourced,” Tom explains. “The use of gold foil emboss paired with a more fluid blind deboss creates a luxury tactile feel, while a gold laminate finish on the inside of the box creates a beautiful glow on the jar.”

The jar in question is a black violet glass vessel sourced from Europe to ensure the product is kept at a premium level. Alongside the jar, there’s a gold hand-crafted spoon and handstitched information booklet with gold foil details which all add to the overall finish.