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.

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