Horse meat burgers: tasty snack or the stuff 'night-mares' are made of?

By Evie Monnington Taylor

After the outcry caused by the 2013 horsemeat scandal in the UK, we asked our intern, Emily, to investigate how you would brand a horse product. We chose frozen burgers, a category popular with consumers looking for great value, high protein and cheery branding. We were careful to avoid a premium provenance-focussed, game-esque brand – that was too easy. 

Brand: We imagined a student consumer: sporty, protein-deprived, loves a BBQ. And then a brand: cheeky, upbeat, daring. And, most of all, honest. There’s no 2% beef sneaking in to our horse burgers…

Design Solution: We were very aware that eating horse offends something very deep in the British psyche. When it comes to equine foodstuffs, we don’t have the same tastes as our friends on the Continent - we needed to avoid any references to horses being pets, steeds or, worst of all, a man’s best friend.

We came up with the design territory ‘weirdly normal’ – we were trying to make it seem normal to eat horse.

Meet the Neighburgers...

They’re a set of ordinary neighbours. Except, like a mysterious breed of upside-down modern-day culinary centaurs, they just happen to have horses’ heads. They’re weirdly normal: they have hobbies and past-times just like the rest of us – Ordinary Alan likes nothing more than a good game of golf; Herby Helen is your typical girl next door who loves to boogie and Spicy Steve is that teenager you love to hate, all heavy bass and emo hair.


The black and white characters evoke a Victorian curiosity at the same time as being a provocative representation of the meat source. The bold, simple brandmark continues in this vein, reminding you of police tape, or a newspaper headline, playing on the scandalous nature of horsemeat whilst the subtle horse’s tail on the ‘R’ makes sure it’s ownable. The bright variant colours place the brand firmly amongst its frozen food competitors whilst the collage mixes food imagery with the paraphernalia from the Neighburgers’ hobbies. 

At the end of her internship Emily had this to say:

After completing my month at Echo, I’m really sad to leave! I’ve had a lot of support from the design team and have definitely learnt some new tricks and tips! They’re all such a friendly bunch- it’s been a blast! Thanks guys!

Recommended For You

Insight & Innovation

“Imagination is the mother of originality, we encourage imagination in every way possible.” 
- Harry Gordon Selfridge

Theo Inglis
Opinion, Insight & Innovation

What can traditional, established brands learn from the sharing economy? 

Clem Cartwright
Opinion, ECHO Life

Design graduate prints his CV on a four-pack of beer to land dream job.

Philip Crewe

So after 30 days of new logos, Yahoo! have finally unveiled their finished and final new logo...

Theo Inglis