Echo, a brand design and innovation agency, has announced its latest work with children’s confectionary brand, Smarties®, as it undergoes a communication refresh and integrates sustainability throughout its brand positioning. These new communications will effectively underpin all of Smarties® future ‘Learn Through Play’ initiatives, with the messaging woven throughout the ‘Cool Creatures’ toy launch. The new work emphasizes the brand’s commitment to sustainability, while enhancing the colorful and fun identity for which Smarties® is recognized. Nestlé, the parent of Smarties®, has an ambition of reaching Net Zero by 2050, so this move supports its wider company objective.

Smarties® became the first global confectionary brand to implement 100% recyclable packaging in 2021, and the brand is focused on encouraging sustainable behaviors as part of its wider strategy. This starts with a call-to-action: “I’m paper, be smart, recycle me.” As long-standing partners of Smarties®, Echo collaborated with their Marketing team to evolve this proposition, introducing the new Play In Our Colourful World communication message, which acts as a powerful expression of Smarties® by bringing to life its key brand pillars: brand purpose, the unique Learn Through Play offer, and sustainability.

Working with the premise that everyone has a vested interest in creating a bright future for generations to come, Echo used inclusive and relatable language to talk about sustainability, signposting ‘our’ world in the communications. Evolving the existing idea of ‘Create Colourful Stories,’ the graphic assets and visual worlds form a design system which can adapt to multiple channels and touchpoints. The prolific paper tear visual creates a link to the on-pack sustainability messaging and directs consumers to key sustainability commitments. In line with Smarties’® values, images of diverse family groups and individuals with physical impairments have been incorporated into the visuals to better represent the brands diversity of consumers.

“Consumers are more aware of their choices on the environment, but they expect more than buzzwords on a pack,” said Alastair Jones, Head of Client Services at Echo. “By embedding sustainability as a key pillar of the Smarties® brand proposition, the consumer has clarity and visibility over Smarties® environmental commitments. Using emotive communications to tap into consumer behavior enabled us to give global consumers a sustainability message that resonates, reflecting the needs and values of Smarties® audience.”

The new Learn Through Play toy ‘Cool Creatures’ was created in parallel and influenced by the Play In Our Colourful World messaging. It allows children to create, decorate and play with 4 sea creature construction toys. Unlike many of its competitors, Smarties® toys were created with sustainability front-of-mind. This was not only achieved through using fully recyclable materials, but by creating longevity of play, which acts as a subtle hint to a functional sustainability message.

Boosted by the Play In Our Colourful World messaging, Echo was able to educate children about sustainability by spreading positive communications about an appreciation of the natural world and creating a colorful future for generations to come. The underwater world provides a gateway to rich educational content that maximizes the play and learning experience. The physical construction toy also includes a play mat with coloring areas and fun ocean facts creating even more play value, longevity and fun.

Interaction between the physical world and digital realm was integral to the strategy, which led to Smarties® focusing on using ‘phygital’ as a means to educate multiple generations of consumers. Echo collaborated with augmented-reality content creation agency Zappar to develop three different games: Marine explorer – to find out more fun facts about the marine environment, Marine quiz – an educational quiz with 40 questions and an AR experience – for the consumer to interact with and learn about 4 AR creatures. The games were designed to engage the whole family, with a balance of complexity of questions and information suitable for a range of ages. The AR creatures are the virtual rendition of the handmade toys, aimed to delight children who can see their creation brought to life in the digital realm. The new toys work to help support a happier and healthier generation of children, striking the balance between tactile play and high-tech assistance.

“Echo has been integral to Smarties® mission to bring sustainability through our front and center in travel retail,” said Aura Sanchez, Marketing Manager at Smarties®. “It’s important we educate our consumers about sustainability through a positive lens that is reflective of Smarties® colorful and fun identity. Digitally connecting with our consumers enables us to continue building brand awareness and share the Smarties® ethos beyond the travel retail environment. Echo’s support has allowed us to maximize the impact of our brand and overall product experience.”

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