From export sticker to recognised brand: Bonita gets a facelift

Following the successful brand projects for Jazz and Envy apples, Turners & Growers approached BRR with a unique brief to take the Bonita brand and export label and create an engaging brand for generations of kiwi banana lovers. It is also a world first, in that it is the first time the Bonita invested in a brand beyond its traditional export label. 

Inspired by the flair for life in South American culture, BRR saw the opportunity to introduce a sense of personality, energy and positivity into the Bonita brand and the wider category.

Rahul Sharma, BRR’s strategy manager for the Bonita Campaign, says that the rebrand was “part of a relaunch in New Zealand. [Bonita] has been here for around 50 years, and this campaign was about leveraging the reputation of the brand.”

Sharma explains that they wanted to shift the Bonita brand from being an export sticker on a fruit to something that was instantly recognisable to consumers. They wanted to make it the banana of choice.

BRR’s solution uses playful graphical elements that draw on Bonita’s Ecuadorian heritage in conjunction with simple messages to bring the brand to life at the point of sale.

Sharma says, “The provenance of Ecuador is valuable to the brand” and that BRR tried to draw on this during the project. Despite these initial intentions, the end result has however rendered mixed results. Although the use of yellow and blue imagery gives a nod to the sunshine and azure waters of Ecuador, the updated website missteps when it says, “Every one of our banana’s is a little bundle of Ecuador – in all it’s sun drenched, samba inspired glory!”  

While the apostrophe errors are easy to overlook, the attachment of a Brazilian dance to Ecuadorian bananas does lead to some question marks regarding research on the part of the copywriters assigned to the task.

In addition to making the brand more recognisable, BRR was also tasked with changing the way Kiwis look at bananas.   

“People have traditionally seen the banana as just as snack. And while it is that, it also has great diversity that has been used by cultures throughout history,” says Sharma.

BRR responded to this challenge by creating imagery and information that aims to elaborate on the breadth of taste experiences that Bonita bananas have to offer.

The ‘our products’ section on the updated Bonita website features five banana varietals, each of which includes a ‘find out more’ link to additional information on the product.

Given that the website is geared at the Kiwi consumer, the section on the plantain, a fruit many Kiwis aren’t familiar with, is particularly information heavy. In addition to providing a colour-coded guide on how to cook plantains, the website also links to a collection of recipes that incorporate the fruit.    

Bonita, which is owned by the Noboa Group in Ecuador, has been embroiled in several labour-related controversies, which both Human Rights Watch and US Labor Education in the Americas Project have reported on.

When asked about the impact of this on the project, Sharma says, “We were directed by Turner and Growers in that sense. The situation in Ecuador is beyond our control. We steered right away from the political aspect.”

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