Chang Beer

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Steven Wilson’s tour of Thailand

We recently revealed Steven’s festive packaging design for Chang Beer, in collaboration with creative agency JKR.

Steven has just returned from a promotional visit to Thailand for the launch of his gold balls design. He also took the opportunity, once his official duties were over, to see a little more of the country.

We collared him briefly to ask him about what he’d got up to:

How did the Chang Beer press event go?

It was fun. Lots of people there and, clearly, a huge amount of effort had gone into making it special, but at the same time it was very relaxed and informal.

Who came along from JKR and Chang Beer?

A lot of people from the Chang team were there, Kay from JKR, and also Chang’s PR team were present. I have to say the hospitality I received from all of them was brilliant.

Who was in your audience? The images suggest either you or Chang Beer have a lot of female fans.

I think the photo you’re referring to was taken when a well-known Thai band were on stage. The singer seemed to have a lot of female fans and was milking it for all it was worth as well. I think the photos were just cleverly edited to suggest they might be gazing at me, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

What did you talk about at the event?

I just had an informal chat with the MC. Firstly, about my work in general and then we went into a bit more detail regarding the project. The idea behind the design and so on.

What was your brief for the design? And what do the gold balls represent?

The brief was to make a design that represented Chang as a premium brand, but its primary job was to feel festive.  The balls are supposed to celebrate the festive period and can be read as decorations, such as the baubles on a Christmas tree. Thailand has an open and international outlook, so Christmas is still a big festival there even though Christianity is a minority religion. I wasn’t trying to be too specific, though. They can be interpreted however the viewer sees fit, so long as the overall feeling is one of celebration.

Was this your first time in Thailand?

No, I travelled around Thailand after university with my wife (girlfriend at the time).  It was around 2002 and we travelled to quite a few parts of the country – Bangkok, Koh Tao, Phi Phi Island, Krabi and Khao Sok National Park to name a few places.  It’s a beautiful country, I only wish it was a bit closer!  The people are so friendly and welcoming.

Where did the event take place, and where did you head from there?

The event was at the Siam Paragon which is a huge, high-end shopping mall in central Bangkok. The morning after the event I headed down to Hua Hin for a short stay to see a bit of beach before heading back up to Bangkok for my last night.  I have a friend, Illustrator Pomme Chan who is based in Bangkok so I spent my last evening with her and she showed me some of the local bars and hangouts around Chinatown which was great.

How long did you stay in Thailand in the end?

Six days, I wish it had been longer.

Did you have places you wanted to go, or was this a spontaneous wander?

No I didn’t plan too much. I had certain things I had to do as part of my visit with Chang, but any free time I just travelled about. I went to a few temples and had a couple of trips on the river in Bangkok and I spent a lot of time eating and drinking.

What were the highlights of your post-press event travels?

I loved Hua Hin. It was nice just to relax for a bit and see a bit of the coast, but equally going back to Bangkok to be shown around by Pomme, who is a local, was brilliant.  I went to some places I would never have found as a tourist.

Who, what and where are we seeing in your photos?

They are just snapshots of the trip, some in Bangkok and a couple in Hua Hin. There is a picture of Pomme and her boyfriend Pat on a rooftop bar they took me to where we watched the sunset, and then a couple of pics of an incredible bar in Chinatown called Ba Hao. The red neon 8 symbol is the logo of the bar. The food and cocktails were amazing –

Are you going to work with Chang again?

I don’t know, but if I had the opportunity then yes I’d love too.

Are you planning to return to Thailand?

Yes absolutely. I have 3 kids, the youngest of whom is still only three. But she is almost at a point where I think she’d be able to amuse herself on a 12-hour flight, so we’ll definitely be going on a family holiday soon. 

Chang is Thailand’s most popular beer. Steven’s design will be appearing on its shrink-wrap packaging for bottles and on the packaging for the six-can Ice Pack, which contains a space for ice in the middle to keep the beer cool.

You can see more of Chang Beer’s festive campaign in this video and a selection of shots from Steve are below too.