Don't Worry, Be Happy, Learn How To Express The Innocent Archetype


(Need to read our introduction to the 12 core brand archetypes? Find it here)

In the late nineties, long before the rise of juicing, nutribullets and an influx of health drinks pulverized from unlikely produce (aloe, beetroot and pomegranate, anybody?), three Cambridge graduates made fruit smoothies and sold them from a stall at a festival.

Their idea was simple; to make it easy for twenty-somethings like themselves, inclined towards drinking too much booze and eating too much fast food, to form some healthy habits and do themselves some good. Almost two decades on, over two million Innocent drinks (they also toyed with the names ‘Naked’ and ‘Nude’) are sold per week in the UK, with a turnover in excess of £200 million.

Innocent the brand provides us with a masterclass in effective use of Innocent the archetype (also known sometimes as the Idealist, Child, or Naive). They typify the archetype’s key qualities of being pure, simple and trustworthy in absolutely every element of their brand personality, and it is their embodiment of it - their own, genuine tone of voice shines through in their use of the archetype- which makes it so powerful for them.

To pick up on just a few key areas, consider their logo- the iconic childlike doodle of a face with a halo, brightly coloured on a pure white background and their brand promise which remains, as in their earliest days, that each drink ‘Tastes Good. Does Good’. Their website even offers ‘love, friendship, a weekly newsletter’ (in that order- the good things before the practical, of course) upon entering your email address, and uses a gently zany humour in suggesting you call them on the bananaphone or write to them at Fruit Towers.

Innocent helpfully provide an archive of all their adverts, which are incredibly useful in understanding the archetype. You can view it here.

The Innocent world is one of complete optimism, where everything is straightforward and there are no hidden agendas or double meanings. It is a place where life can be simple and uncomplicated. Innocent brands represent good, clean fun. This archetype can be a great brand personality for brands associated with health, cleanliness and natural products.

A Quick Summary of the Innocent

Mission: To experience paradise. To spread happiness and optimism.

Values: Purity. Honesty. Harmony. Innocence.

Personality attributes: Cheerful. Optimistic. Wholesome.

Brand examples: Method. Innocent smoothies. Herbal Essences. Dove.

Characters: Follow the link to our Pinterest Board of Innocent characters in TV, film and literature.

How can we express our Innocent identity?

1) Bring a sense of wonder and a “don’t worry, be happy” attitude.

2) Use nostalgia- take customers back to a simpler time.

3) Employ a straightforward, cheerful tone of voice.

4) Make all imagery natural and un-fussy, create a sense of optimism.

How have other brands expressed this archetype?

Many cleaning products play on consumers fear of the invisible enemy of disease, positioning themselves as defenders of the home and family without which we would all be falling seriously ill. A prime example of this is bleach-based crusader Domestos, who sternly warns that ‘germs are everywhere’, before ordering us to ‘wage a war on germs and show them who’s boss!’ (Click here if you want to see more of this frankly scary approach).

However, Method buck the trend, instead focusing their brand personality on cleaning as a joyful, vaulable experience in and of itself. They make a rainbow of brightly colored, deliciously scented products and use the tagline ‘Clean Happy’ as well as promoting ‘Happy Homes,’ free from any harmful chemicals.

As they put it, “With Method, cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. not when you have naturally derived, biodegradable products that clean like heck, smell like heaven and leave nothing nasty in their wake.”

As with Innocent drinks, Method are committed to doing good, both for the environment (they are equally transparent about their ingredients and processes, too) and for the community through their Method Cares program. Their Innocent identity is expressed not only in their minimalist pure and simple branding and cheerful tone of voice, but in their fundamental goodness in all that they do.

(It’s worth spending a bit of time having a good browse around their incredibly comprehensive website, as they represent the values of the Innocent brand so thoroughly. Click here for it.)

Not sure if your brand is an Innocent? As we said, your brand is probably a mix of two or three archetypes. We’ve explored several of them over the past few weeks- look back through the ‘Brand Archetypes’ category if there’s any you’ve missed- and we’ll be continuing to do so into the future, so sign up to stay updated.





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