Carlsberg

the coded name

Carlsberg is the paterfamilias of lager brands and  cavalier king of the ads. A leviathon of brewing spanning 160 years, Carlsberg was establised in 1847 on a hill outside Copenhagen by J.C. Jacobsen.

The name of the company, and beer in the UK, derives from that of Jacobsen’s newly born son, Carl, compounded with the location of the brewery, berg beinɡ ‘hill’ in Danish. This kind of coded brand name which has great value for the originator is important for the employees and ethos of the company, but less strategic in its link with the product. The family-oriented style of this name does link loosely with the social aspect of drinking and the public house in the 19th century. However, it is in the personalization of the brand name as a fact of identity that the name becomes the ‘breathing brand’ we are so accustomed to hearing about from branding prophets and shamans alike. And there is just enough of the Carl in Carlsberg for that identity to survive and grow.