From feel-good bananas to a fierce brand
Looking to expand their distribution sales across the rest of Canada and in the US, Equifruit, a Fairtrade certified banana importer, approached TUX to develop a unique and competitive brand that met their ambitious growth objectives. The brand would need to connect with a dual audience of produce buyers for major grocery chains and a new generation of socially and environmentally conscious consumers composed largely of Gen Z/Millennial grocery shoppers, while not alienating other demographics.
Inspired by the passionate women running Equifruit and their bold mission to make fair pay for banana farmers a mainstream standard, we crafted a bold brand position, a distinct communication style and a fresh graphic platform that could live across a multitude of channels such as POS merchandising, social and web. With the growing adoption of online shopping in a post-Covid world, the brand would have to be effective both in a retail environment and a digital one.
We made a banana brand that nobody could ignore and everybody could buy into
B2B: Convincing buyers to take a chance on a small, mission-based fruit importer
With grocery retailers unwilling to create more shelf-space for a third banana variety of “Fairtrade Bananas”, Equifruit would have to takeover either the organic or conventional banana section dominated by longstanding brands like Chiquita and Dole. Setting their sights on the organic section in the short-term, Equifruit’s 100% Fairtrade and Organic bananas came out to nearly double the price of conventional bananas.
At this cost, buyers weren’t convinced that Equifruit’s current branding and Fairtrade messaging approach had enough appeal amongst consumers to justify the cost. To build credibility with produce buyers, we needed to create a unique brand that had an undeniable understanding of and connection with consumers. We needed to find Equifruit an edge that would help them have a leg up on their affluent competitive set.
B2C: Finding a fresh angle to connect Fairtrade impact with conscious consumers
To connect with grocery shoppers, we would have to find a new way to communicate the importance of Fairtrade. Despite being on the market for 23 years, research showed that comprehension around Fairtrade impact was limited amongst consumers. Moreover, the complexity of the topic was a turnoff for many. With Equifruit’s entire value proposition being tied to the Fairtrade certification, we needed to reinvent communications around Fairtrade impact to carry more flavour.
Same, Same but Different — The “Doing Good” Edition.
Our competitive analysis demonstrated a strong pattern amongst major corporate competitors (e.g. Dole, Chiquita) and small mission-based food brands alike. Both sides were vying to connect with consumers through values-based and social impact messaging, oftentimes sounding near identical using phrases like “Eat this. Save the world.” Or “Buy this. Save a life.” As social impact was Equifruit’s main competitive advantage, we needed to build a brand that had a more unexpected approach to messaging.
Creating our unique target set — The Mindful(ish) Consumer
We turned to our consumers for inspiration. We found that this new generation of socially and environmentally conscious consumers sometimes struggled with consistency between their values and actions. The majority of the Gen Z population identifies as socialists but simultaneously buys into conspicuous consumption with expansive sneaker collections and overflowing cabinets of beauty products.
Millennials, who ushered in mainstream norms of being eco-conscious, simultaneously populate their baby showers with non-biodegradable party balloons. We saw this as an opportunity to own a unique target-set that competitors weren’t paying attention to. We named them “The Mindful(ish) Consumer”. We chose to celebrate our consumers’ contradictions by positioning Equifruit’s brand at the intersection of Doing Good and Having Fun.
Attention-worthy messaging & an innovative aesthetic
We crafted a brand that bridged the fearlessness of Equifruit’s team with the playful contradictions of The Mindful(ish) Consumer by blending education around the social impact of Fairtrade and an indulgence of pop culture, current events and consumer trends. This inspired Equifruit’s “Fake News” messaging approach. Statements such as “The Only 5G Banana” and “The Only Banana Sharks Eat” were used to invite people to read more and learn about what Fairtrade means through clever copy.
Unlike Equifruit’s giant competitors, we weren’t looking to create a hyper-polished look and feel for the brand. With consumer trust in corporations tanking, we wanted to build credibility by speaking the same visual language as today’s youth. We went for a deliberate lo-fi look that feels spontaneous, timely and raw. This approach would allow Equifruit’s team to react with the quick speed of culture and build relevant content in a digital environment.
We developed an ownable key message and an iconic symbol for Equifruit to ensure their brand recognition in the produce aisle. “The Only Banana You Should Buy” was developed as a bold invitation to learn about Fairtrade as much as a call to action to purchase the product. The message could be easily recognizable in-store on merchandising materials for consumers and trade shows for buyers. Additionally, the jagged banana symbol was designed to serve as a visual mechanic for Equifruit to achieve an iconic brand status — it could be used for hijacking cultural moments, educating about Fairtrade impact in a digestible way and helping grocery shoppers distinguish Equifruit from their competitors in the produce aisle.
Our thorough strategic and creative work gave Equifruit’s team newfound momentum to tackle their ongoing mission of making ethical banana sourcing an industry norm.
Buyers have praised Equifruit’s new branding as one of the most innovative marketing and communication efforts they have seen in the produce space. Equifruit unlocked business opportunities 3 years earlier than anticipated due to their brand investment. TUX’s work on the brand has inspired certain buyers to look into terminating competitor contracts with longstanding partners in order to sign on exclusively with Equifruit’s Fairtrade bananas across both conventional and organic categories.
Barbara Caselli, Sandra Dagenais
Charlene Sepentzis, Simon Chénier-Gauvreau,
Art direction & Graphic design
Stacy Gagnidze, Antoine Cayouette
Mateusz Markiewicz, Jean-Michel Lavoie, Rafik Andraos
Félix Arsenault, Lochlan Doyle
Lian Benoît, Vincent Castonguay
Gaida & Steph Studio
La Bourgeoisie Sérigraphe - Iris Sautier
Barbara Caselli, Sandra Dagenais
Concept & Art direction
Antoine Cayouette, Laetitia Combebias
Colorist & retouching