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Benedictine Liqueur – Makoto Saito (1990s)

This vintage print ad, released in 1990s, was designed by Japanese poster artist Makoto Saito and released to the French market.

This ad was commissioned as part of a campaign to revive and modernize the brand image of Benedictine Liqueur, a herbal liqueur with monastic roots. In the poster, multiple pairs of eyes are depicted darting to the right, with a tongue jarting out and licking its lips. This character (whoever it may be!) appears coquettish and playful.

The use of numerous sets of eyes is reflective of designer Makoto Saito’s perchance for distorting the human form in all his works. Here, it helps accentuate a notion of Benedictine as an entity that is unpinned, modern and on the move.

Using a contemporary style of collage helps is a great way  to shake up a 200-year old brand that was at risk of being pigeonholed as old fashioned, in my opinion. The ad features no text save for the brand’s name (another trademark Saito characteristic), but the message is clear: don’t try to define Benedictine just yet!