Coca-Cola bought its first 18% stake in Innocent in 2009. Four years later, in 2013, the soft drinks giant upped its ownership of the smoothie brand to 90%. Why was Coke so keen to spend hundreds of millions buying Innocent? We have a pretty good idea.

Innocent. Tastes good, does good.

In February 2013, David Boland posted a comment on a Marketing Week article that pretty much sums up what’s so great about Innocent: “Their [Innocent's] fresh approach to marketing has been an inspiration and as a consumer of their products I must admit that I enjoy reading the packaging as much as I do drinking the contents. Not sure how many other food or drink products I could say that about!”

Taking a closer look at Innocent’s values and marketing strategy, it’s clear as day as to why it’s made the cut as a Brave Brand. Please allow us to introduce the 4 C’s (how convenient!) that separate Innocent from the rest.

Copywriting
Innocent thrives off exuberant and playfully cheeky copy. Its friendly yet down-to-earth TOV is distinguishable from a mile off and showcases the brand’s incredible personality with powerful impact. In fact, it’s so good that consumers actively look forward to it, happily enjoying it as they devour the pack’s contents.

Inncent copywriting

Innocent copywriting

Customers
What started as 3 university pals asking festival goers to vote on whether or not they should try and make a real go of their smoothie brand has transformed into a wholly consumer-centric business model. Perhaps the best illustration of this is Innocent’s AGM (A Grown-up Meeting), an annual meeting for its brand loyalists. At the event, which takes place at the brands HQ Fruit Towers, attending customers can try new flavours in the pipeline, ask questions and learn more about the business in general. Though the AGM only happens once a year, Innocent uses its packaging to invite its customers to pop in or call its banana phone anytime.

Innocent AGM

Things like the AGM prove the strength of Innocent’s brand and its confidence in itself. This open and frank approach filters right through to its advertising and packaging. It once said “Our very first bottles looked…a little bit ugly if we’re being honest.”

Cause
Innocent’s new positioning statement is ‘tastes good, does good’. The ‘does good’ part doesn’t just refer to the obvious health benefits that come with natural fruit juice and smoothies but Innocent’s charitable endeavour to give 10% of its profits to charity. Since 2004, the brand has donated a massive £5.4 million to good causes.

Innocent charity focus

In its own words, “It’s all about leaving things a little bit better than we find them – one of our core philosophies, and one that we try to apply to everything we do.” 

Much of Innocent’s giving goes to the Innocent Foundation, a UK-registered charity that provides grants to non-governmental organisations. Causes supported by the foundation include sending unwanted drinks to UK food re-distribution charity FanShare, providing poor families in Africa with the skills they need to escape poverty through Send a Cow, and working with the Clinton Foundation in poverty-stricken Malawi.

Innocent Foundation

Organisations around the world linked to the Innocent Foundation.

The list of Innocent’s good deeds goes on and on. You can find out about more of them here.   

Commitment to Innovation
All right, we’re pushing the 4 C’s thing a bit here. But the video below demonstrates Innocent’s strong commitment to their brand’s evolution through innovation. Innocent adheres to 3 main principles as they push their brand to create deeper connections with its consumers and stay relevant in the future.

1. Steal with pride – have no shame in taking the best of everything to create a better solution for the market.

2. Endurance for the last 10% – when it comes to creating change, the last piece is always the hardest and most frustrating. Investing the time to make this work will make your innovations worthwhile.

3. Differentiate all the way around – capitalise on every opportunity to be different, even if you don’t think your consumers will notice. Carving out your own space in the category and market with an ownable structure, copywriting, strategy, and values will afford you a category of your own.

[Video via EatBigFish]

Why is Innocent brave?
Innocent successfully juggles a multitude of brand values. A friendly and relatable personality upheld through copy and consumer engagement activities helps Innocent maintain a transparent and honest relationship with customers as well as generating huge brand loyalty. As a brand, it consistently strives towards innovation and self-improvement, whilst remaining confident in the work it’s already doing. And Innocent is undeniably making the world a better place, both in terms of its consumers’ health and charitable works around the world. We think Innocent is just great.

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In providing a healthy alternative to ice cream, frozen yoghurt sells itself. While the US has been indulging in froyo for decades, the UK is currently experiencing a market explosion with new shops popping up on high streets across the country. But health and taste factors alone haven’t caused such accelerated growth. The category aesthetic is elementally cheerful, bubbly and sweet and froyo purveyors have infused this energy into their environments with such vigour that brand expression has become a true driving force behind the boom.

bliss berry

Bold flashes of the brightest colours in the spectrum catch the eye atop a healthy, refreshing clean white base. Bliss Berry’s effervescent environment is a reflection of the froyo category as a whole.

Flavaboom

Flavaboom’s environment also plays with the balance of white space and colour, but has added a futuristic edge. Designed by Dune, the concept for the shop was an ultramodern laboratory. Elements such as the floating pink faux-leather seats backed by plum-hued mirrors make it look like a cafeteria on a spaceship. Flavaboom definitely reflects froyo’s status as the dessert of the future.

frozen yoghurt universityThe brilliance of these froyo brand environments is way they model themselves on the aesthetic of treats. Colourfully fun and quirky circles playfully bounce across the walls at the Yogo Factory in São Paulo. Reminiscent of sweets, it’s instantly attractive to consumers. We know it’s healthy but we feel like we’re treating ourselves every time we walk into one of these stores.

hielo

Froyo brands are so with the times that their names could be those of the latest smart phone apps. Brand names like Hielo, Snog, Flavaboom could feasibly be replaced by the likes of Vimeo, Hulu and Shazam. These brands know that consumers are attracted to slick, dynamic, memorable identities. It’s all about making things simple and fun and naming is part of that.

SNOG These store interiors create futuristic worlds that fall on the right side of tacky. They bring light and joy to the purchase and consumption journey as well as a futuristic window to tomorrow.

Top it YoLick Froyo brands have clearly found a winning formula in combining fresh fun with modern quirk. However, the category desperately lacks differentiation. If a brand wants to rise above the rest, it will need to find a new direction; one that still communicates the category cues of cool happiness, but in a novel way that offers consumers a different experience.

So the question is, what is next for the category?

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The demand for less disposable packaging is increasing as consumers become ever more aware of environmental factors. Enter, the tin. 

As collectible rather then disposable packaging, the tin provides a fantastic opportunity for great design using eco-friendly materials. It’s invading all categories of packaging, from tea bags to t-shirts, from watches to wine, and is lingering in consumers’ homes long after its contents have been used. Your tin might be holding pencils, storing souvenirs, or simply looking pretty. Plus if it’s in your home, it’s not in a landfill.

Mini masterpieces
These designs blow all expectations of canned goods out of the water. Mastering beautiful design, their keepsake status elevates these everyday objects into the realms of art.

Williamson Tea

Tea never tasted better. Not sure about the plain grey elephant for Great Britain though.

Licorice

This liquorice in a tin oozes retro appeal.

Posh tinned food

Soup & sauce from Denmark.

Beauty products

Beauty products are often packaged in tins.

Out of the ordinary
Not what you might expect, tins are taking ordinary items into previously unexplored territories. They construct the extraordinary out of the mundane, and all in an eco-friendly way. Pretty perfect, right? The canned watches are a particular favourite of ours.

Artisan Ice Cream

Artisan Ice Cream made extra premium.

T-shirt

The premium alternative to selling t-shirts in tubes.

Watches

Watch packaging. A round pack for a round object.

Wine

Red Wine like you’ve never seen it before.

Twine

How else would you package twine?

Survival cupcakes

Cupcakes made more tasty.

 

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Amidst a set of examples from public service announcements to billboards for budget airlines,
edgy Serbian café, bar & nightclub Wats (Wearetheshit), has an entire brand identity that
completely revolves around foul language.  

watsbar-cover

We love it. Here are 3 reasons why…

Streamlined Design
Wats is kind of a big deal. At least that’s what people infer from the super simple, somehow premiumised picture of a poo that serves as its logo.

Wats T-shirt

You’d have to be throwing one hell of a party to pursuade punters to wear this.

The entire identity is based off the back of a palette of black, white and mint green that keeps it from becoming puerile. It makes for a killer and impossible-to-ignore combination of minimalist style and shock.

Witty & Versatile
The Wats brand stretches effortlessly into new avenues for whipping up brand awareness. Obviously invented with creating cult status in mind, the trendy turd has already been slapped on everything a Wats attendee could possibly want, from coffee cups to pillow cases.

Its design and rock solid tone of voice are shameless yet scintillating. Why? Because they have a sweet hook: witty picture puns with a risqué edge that are accessible enough for anyone to understand.

Wats range

Classic, Contemporary & Upcoming (or Past, Present & Prospective)
In-jokes on branded merchandise have been a marketing scheme for hotspots since the dawn of night time, but Wats’ memorable, ice-cool, irreverent delivery has made it fresh and believable.

Wats party

It’s taken a bold step into the future by becoming an entertainment destination with a personality. This human edge makes Wats not just the bar you spend the night with, but the one you want to stay friends with afterwards.

If you’re interested in some more in-depth research we did into the trend for brands to use bad language, click here. 

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One almost can’t imagine a Patagonia fleeced young fella without a moustache to complement his normcore styling these days. In fact, stop and take a quick look around your studio or the tube, or wherever you may be right now. How many boys-to-men are sporting whiskers? The message is clear – furry lips are cool again.

Not only does the moustache remind us of ‘the good old days’ when commuters rode penny farthings instead of Bradley Wiggins’ training bikes, but it’s just plain funny. Not many things can match a moustache that’s grown beyond the realms of the face taking a twiddly or bushy life of its own.

Humour continues to be a powerful driver that brands can use in attracting consumers. Thus, including a moustache in their packaging is a surefire way for them to do so.

One would be entirely justified to feel that their liberal application to branded packaging is slightly overkill, but we can’t help but love them. And so we dare you to look through the packaging gallery below without cracking a smile.

url-8

As far as moustache inspired packaging design goes, these paint brushes are Mecca.

mr choco styles IIHIH url-1 url-2 url-3 url-4 url-5 url-6 url-7 url

 

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Back in 1938, Nescafé brought instant coffee to the world’s lips for the first time. 76 years later, it is still the instant coffee of choice for the baby boom generation and their jars continue to stock kitchen cupboards all around the globe. As the fifth most valuable food and drink brand and one of the world’s most distributed instant coffee brands, its rich heritage within the category is undeniable. Now the Swiss brand has unveiled a new identity that is set to extend across all its products and collateral globally.

Spot the difference: Nescafé’s original logo sits alongside the new design.

With the increase of global competition from growing companies such as Starbucks, Nescafé now wants to capture the imaginations of a wider demographic and encourage a whole new generation of coffee drinkers to switch the kettle on. The way to do this? A brand refresh and global portfolio alignment.

“Nescafé is our largest single brand and one of the cornerstones of our company,” says Patrice Bula, Nestlé’s Global Head of Marketing. “But we now live in a more globalised, social world and we realised that we needed a more unified, powerful umbrella for a brand like Nescafé – a single personality that could also be expressed differently in each country.”

Nescafé's new logo is designed to resemble a steaming mug of coffee.

Nescafé’s new logo is designed to resemble a steaming mug of coffee.

Designed to look like steam emerging from a brimming cup of coffee, Nescafé’s acute accent is the new star of the show.

Mug

Whilst this isn’t a bad attempt at consolidating global brand communications, it’s not great either. It’s clear that the rounded typography is designed to convey indulgence, but the strong character of the original brand seems to have been lost. And it seems that we’re not the only ones who are unimpressed, we spotted some comments online likening the refresh to a number of well recognised marks.

Print

Air France

Is the new design too similar to the Air France logo or the Twitter bird?

At first glance, the typographical changes to the logo seem as simple as a shift from serif to sans-serif, although the diagram (below) demonstrates the thought that has in fact gone into altering the word mark. While hardly ground-breaking, the alterations made do actively shift the logo’s dynamic. The line encompassing the type maintains brand equity, although its synergy with the accent is questionable. Perhaps the shape comes from the ‘N’, either way it’s confusing.

Logo Construction

The thought processes behind the new design.

Mug Clock

Mexico

It appears as if Nescafé’s refresh has served to make its portfolio and communications more disparate rather than cohesive.

Nescafé’s main aim was to create cohesion across its portfolio, but it certainly isn’t present here. The packaging leaves a lot to be desired. The category is very different to what Nescafé is used to, with a glut of global power brands offering a lot more choice to consumers. It’s a pity that the brand hasn’t leveraged its packaging against the highly ownable ’round/square’ cup.

Is a new logo really enough to create the stand out needed to affect the drastic demographic shift that Nescafé desire?

Packaging

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Summer has arrived. And we all know that when Summer arrives, lemonade does too. 

Lemonade stand

The ultimate thirst-quenching beverage, lemonade draws many associations from kids selling it to their neighbours in their front yards to summertime relaxation.Below are a few refreshing examples of brands who have bought these occasions to life through packaging. 

Kids in America
These designs embrace America’s nostalgia of children’s homemade lemonade stands and carry memories of long afternoons spent in the sunshine trying to make a couple dollars.

Kids 1Kids 6Kids 2

Modernising tradition
These brands take lemonade to newer, fresher places. Vector graphics are commonplace, giving the bottles a clean, crisp finish and propelling this citrus beverage into the 21st century.

Graphics 3Graphics 8Graphics 7Graphics 1

 

Less is more
Offering minimal distraction, these brands let the lemonade do the talking. So we will too.

PrintMinimalism 5Minimalism 3Minimalism 4Minimalism 1

 

Limonata
In a totally different direction, the Europeans take lemonade to much more adult but no less fun place with illustrations of vintage pin-up girls give ‘limonata’ a sexy sophistication.

Limonata 2Limonata 1

 

Natural goodness
These lemonade brands are keen to make sure their natural ingredients take centre stage. Fresh, bright illustrations certainly ensure that fruity goodness becomes the star of the show, with product descriptions playing only a secondary role.

Natural 1Natural 3Natural 2Graphics 6

 

Hard lemonade
In 1999, Mike (real name Antony von Mandl) grabbed hold of lemonade and decided to give it an alcoholic kick. Many have followed suit since and they’re now an everyday occurrence on supermarket shelves. Keep your eyes peeled though: there’s not a whole lot to indicate that these are strictly for grown-ups.

Alcohol 2Alcohol 1Alcohol 3

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