Is that a banana (sticker) in your pocket…?
I peeled this little sticker off of a banana and stuck it onto my wallet a couple weeks ago. I was happy to see it.
Whoever designed Chiquita’s “happy face” took advantage of the product’s naturally curved shape to make it look like a smile.
“Maybe it’s time to revisit this topic,” I thought to myself.
I’ve got a lot on my mind, however. Maybe too much. Clearly, I needed to spend some time researching whether there were any other brands making their products smile in this way. The sticker on my wallet was a reminder that eventually paid off.
I found three examples that share some interesting characteristics. All three include a photo (or a realistic illustration) of a smile-resembling food product.
In each case, the designers rely partly on their products’ curved shape, but also on a tagline claiming “happiness” as a product benefit.
Chiquita Bananas, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Herta Frankfurters. These are three food brands whose products smile at us of late.
1. Chiquita’s “Just Smile!” campaign
Armando Testa created the television commercials for Chiquita’s 2015 “Just Smile” campaign.
Chiquita expanded on their smiling banana mouth by adding two stickers for the eyes.
When reproduced on tiny banana stickers, of course, these labels within the label become very small indeed.
Whose design was the banana happy face? I’m not sure. Maybe it was designed “in-house.”
In the nineties they tried to revive the original character in America and at that time I made some alterations to the old design to make it more “contemporary.” I suppose that for that reason they put my name as the creator. I also redesigned the logo character in England but it wasn’t a big deal. It is a gross exaggeration to describe me as the “creator”.
2. Kraft’s “You know you love it” campaign
Landor realized that by bringing these equities to life on-pack and creating a distinct, ownable graphic lockup between Kraft and Macaroni & Cheese, we could strengthen the brand, allowing it to contend more effectively with private label brands and other competitors.
Focusing on the Kraft-owned equities of happiness, smiles, and joy, and aware of the importance of the Kraft name on the label, we created the new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese logo. A bright blue circle strengthens Kraft’s claims on its core colors and a circular holding shape was introduced to lock up the logo—all supported by a noodle-smile.
Sometimes they’ve used the macaroni smile as a logo all by itself, without a tagline.
Kraft called it “The Smiling Noodle” in various trademark filings. The trademark office did not approve it at first. Initially they sought a disclaimer from Kraft, for this part of the logo. In other words, the smiling noodle part of design would not be protected.
Kraft’s lawyers argued that…
The Smiling Noodle… is inherently distinctive because it is not an illustration of the goods, but rather a whimsical use of a single noodle shown in the upturned position to represent a smile.
… The Smiling Noodle is a suggestive logo design intended to capture and convey the spirit of the product, in this case, happiness, when consumed.
In 2012, the trademark office approved the “Smiling Noodle” as a registered trademark, in its own right.
3. The “Herta Makes a Meal Happy” campaign
…making the product an icon for happy mealtimes by literally making it smile!
Herta’s hot dog smile also includes ketchup punctuation marks at the corners of the ‘mouth’. (To my eyes these serve a similar anatomical role to the arrowhead in Amazon’s smiling logo.)
While the smiling frankfurter appears on Herta’s packaging without other facial features, their website features a happy face with additional features.
Here, as with the other two brands, “happiness” is the core product claim.
See also: Brands Make Ü Happy