Brands: the tale of two smoothies.

You may not know this but, at one point in the 1990′s there were two major smoothie brands in the UK – Innocent and PJ’s. Both of them started as small independent producers but their futures were destined to be very different. And branding had a lot to do with their fates.

PJ’s was launched in 1994 and, even though most people I talk to don’t remember it, the product soon became the UK’s number one smoothie brand. Innocent entered the market 5 years later in 1999. Despite PJ’s being sold to PepsiCo in 2005 and having the backing of this huge multi-national, sales went downhill – and the brand was eventually scrapped in 2008. At the time, many pointed to that fact that they had started to use concentrates in their smoothies. But most now agree that their branding was a major factor in its demise. Innocent had a clearer vision about how to build their brand – the combination of innovative ideas and ethical values proved to be a great success. They skillfully embodied these qualities in everything they did – their childlike identity, their no-nonsense ads and even their simple bottle shape. In comparison the PJ’s brand, such as it was, simply could not compete.

For us, the lesson is clear – when launching a new product your chances of success are hugely increased if your brand is robust, unique and clearly defined. Brand design and development isn’t just a case of making things ‘look good’, it’s about having a fundamental understanding of human communication and the culture in which the brand will exist.

Patrick Jackson Design)