Take me to paradise

Posted by Steve on Apr 08th 2014 in: Semiotics 101: how packaging attracts by association, Water & Soft drinks

Coconut water based drinks on shelf

Ok the ‘paradise’ is a bit cartoon-like, but there’s no doubt that VitaCoco’s rapid rise to become the icon of a new healthy drink sector has a lot to do with its simple and iconic desert island scene, and the insight to go for a green coconut as its symbol (it’s fresher than the brown and hairy variety, and gives more of a story for early adopters to boast about).

But here in Whole Foods it has plenty of challengers, so it’s fascinating to see how many other codes and signals might also sell the benefits of coconut water. Cocofina says it’s been ‘cracking coconuts since 2005’, and clearly using the same outdated codes for ‘healthy people who read labels’ since then too. Go Coco shares its bottle and benefit claim typography, but it’s otherwise a more refreshing copy of the leading brand.

Chi offers a more sophisticated take on the meaning of exotic locations, refreshing mind as well as body. It’s also well into phase two of the market development, coco/coffee/choco combinations. But if I had to drink this stuff I’d probably go for the ‘raw’ version offered by unoco. Only pack geeks like me would spot that the symbol actually spells ‘unoco’, but it also suggests some serious functional benefits, compared to the others’ fake tans. It also turns pink in the bottle, but only sometimes. Now that’s the best RTB I’ve heard this year!