Celebrity endorsements and celebrities starting brands leveraging their fame are not novel concepts. Helping craft a brand, born from celebrity, and enabling it to stand on its own is an entirely different challenge. Beam Suntory approached Webb deVlam to elevate the Justin Timberlake-backed 901 tequila brand. The goal was to become a truly premium lifestyle brand that would live up to Timberlake’s polished style and Beam Suntory’s high standards. The challenge was to reflect this pop icon while also leveraging the 140-year heritage of the Sauza family’s tequila legacy.

Fortunately, designers recognize similarities in things that seem to have no overlap. Innovation, quality, and an ability to be simultaneously modern, yet grounded in a rich history, are all attributes shared by JT and Tequila Sauza. The answer to this challenge leverages these qualities in dissimilar brands to create a more refreshed and relevant approach to the premium tequila category.

The new bottle silhouette is slimmed down, like a sharply tailored suit, to reflect Timberlake’s smooth and stylish aesthetic. The existing equities of the red ribbon and vertical 901 mark were re-imagined and married with the tademark Sauza brand identity and rooster, providing the appropriate attributes of authenticity and tradition. Details like the herringbone texture and ebonized wooden cap and cork are signs of 901’s crafted quality. The entire ensemble is woven together to create a beautifully upscale look, capturing the relatable cool that is a hallmark of the JT brand and the refreshingly real tequila that is Sauza.


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