Nut industry leader John B. Sanfilippo & Son has relaunched its iconic Squirrel brand, with a new identity and positioning developed in partnership with global brand design agency Straight Forward Design.
Founded in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1888, Squirrel has become one of America’s most iconic and well-loved nut brands, seen everywhere from Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s pocket as he explored the Antarctic, to Hollywood stars’ dressing rooms.
Amidst the challenging business conditions of the pandemic, John B. Sanfilippo & Son asked Straight Forward Design to reimagine the Squirrel brand, giving it a reason to exist in a crowded marketplace and in its wider portfolio of brands.
John B. Sanfilippo & Son tasked Straight Forward Design with reinventing the Squirrel brand while celebrating its unique legacy and heritage, ensuring it would appeal to “Gen Next” and the food-obsessed. The new brand needed to drive taste appeal, hero-ing Squirrel’s exquisite flavors, ingredients and creation methods.
The brand is also looking to a sustainable future, with planned activity including partnerships to protect habitats and wildlife by educating people and supporting rural communities.
To achieve all of this, Straight Forward Design started by putting the nut back at the center of the story. The new Squirrel brand draws on an impressive history, borrowing from its rich back catalog of iconography and ephemera and updating it for a modern audience. It also takes inspiration from fashion for its architectural principles, with signature, diffusion collections, and high-end couture taste sensations.
The new positioning is all about celebrating the nut, brought to life through a new, updated squirrel character with a new name, Zip (after the famous Squirrel product Nut Zippers), and a whole back story. Zip constantly scours the earth to gather the greatest nuts and ingredients. The charming character is free to roam around the new, art-deco-inspired logo, never in the same place twice, and always on the move.
Squirrel’s new packaging is designed to offer the customer a premium experience from shelf through to eating, incorporating the brand’s origin story, the nuts, and their ingredients, and an explorer’s map to guide the consumer through the brand experience.
Straight Forward Design was responsible for the new strategy, positioning, brand identity, brand activation, brand experience, brand guidelines, and packaging design.
John Goetter, VP marketing, John B Sanfilippo & Son, says, “Working in partnership with Straight Forward Design, we have developed a new brand that nods to Squirrel’s incredible history while ensuring it has real appeal for a modern audience seeking high-quality specialty foods for themselves or as a gift.
“Straight Forward has breathed new life into Squirrel, considering how the brand should behave at all levels, from a marketing perspective through to sustainability and beyond.”
Mike Foster, founder and creative director, Straight Forward Design, added, “It’s been a delight to work on reinventing a brand with such a rich heritage and back story, which we’ve been able to draw on in order to create something that feels authentic and true to Squirrel’s roots.
“Our approach to the brief is embodied by our new brand character Zip, scurrying from Squirrel’s past into an exciting, animated future.”