CHALLENGE 4: LAUNCHING A NEW PRODUCT
Launched in July 2016, Hippeas is one of the fastest growing health snacks on the market. Its identity by global design agency Jones Knowles Ritchie has led to the organic puffed chickpeas being stocked in 18,500 stores in the UK and USA (including Starbucks in the latter), and revenues are due to hit just shy of £1m in the first seven months in the UK, with a projection of $6.5m in the US by summer 2017.
Its success, believes Green Park Brands founder Livio Bisterzo, is partly due to the company collaborating with jkr from very early in the brand’s life, allowing for deep research into positioning, category insight and the consumer journey, all before a pencil was even lifted. “It wasn’t just a design process,” explains Bisterzo. “We went right from the beginning, creating a personality and story – an overarching brand world above and beyond packaging design.”
That story was shaped with an unashamedly pun-tastic tone of voice, riffing on hippy phrases (‘Give peas a chance’ and experiential ‘peas-ful protests’ with ‘snacktivists’) but with genuine messaging about Hippeas’ social and environmental credentials, such as its sustainable supply chain, the support it gives farmers in developing countries and the soil-enriching virtues of chickpeas themselves. These narratives successfully tapped into the rebel spirit of today’s millennials – a key market for Bisterzo – and their current passion for activism, health and the environment.
Featuring a smiley face with lip-smacking tongue and chickpea-shaped eye, the identity itself draws on the rich visual imagery and colour palette of the 1960s, reinterpreting the aesthetic in a way that feels fresh and modern, explains jkr design director Stephen McDavid. McDavid attributes the brand’s success to its modern and clear mindset: switching from being a “challenger brand” to an “iconic brand of the future”, with a clear, confident aesthetic that is instantly recognisable. Becoming a future icon isn’t always easy. “Make sure every design element has a role to play, and reduce the generic clutter. To allow a brand to stand out, you really need to hone in on what your key assets are,” advises McDavid.
Cut-through was also a big part of Hippeas’ astonishing sales figures – and both Bisterzo and McDavid agree that this was achieved by thinking outside of the category. “Hippeas is a healthy alternative to snacking, but we didn’t want to appear worthy or niche,” says McDavid. “We were very keen to develop a brand language that was bold, and says that being good for you doesn’t need to be boring.”
jkr used visual cues from the 1960s to inspire the Hippeas packaging. The team avoided cliches by thinking of the product like a future icon, which meant clear visuals with engaging stories at a range of different touchpoints.