This was one of those rare projects when the client provides only a frame of reference — just enough for inspiration — and turns you loose to see what you bring back. Usually having so little information about a project is a hinderance to the design process, but somehow with this particular project it just worked. In a way the lack of structure resonates in the playful quality of the brand.
It is with dizzying infrequency you hear a success story that starts with the words "This one weekend in Vegas..." But that is just how my friends at Happy Monkey Hummus tell it. And while the outward appearance of the brand is all swinging from the trees fun, David and Erin are very passionate and bust monkey butt every day to make this business a success.
First appearing at the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmer's Market in 2009, HMH was immediately popular. On the first day, local CBS affiliate KUTV2 invited the Monkeys to appear during their lunchtime broadcast. Since then, Happy Monkey Hummus has gone from Saturday local farmers market to regional placement in major grocery retailers in five short years...
So glad this Monkey made it out of Vegas!
Solutions & Insights
From the get-go, Happy Monkey Hummus has been extremely popular with consumers and retailers. I'm always so amazed at how easily it grabs people's attention. If you ask me, the name combined with the character live in some sort of consumer mass-appeal-sweet-spot.
When designing the character, the one thing I kept coming back to was that he needed to be playful — but more importantly, that playfulness needed to be authentic. I think we need authenticity to identify with a product and rally behind it. I'm not even sure most of us are actively aware of this need for something to be genuine. Almost like it's more intuitive than conscious. But when we experience it, there is a real positive response to it.
Or maybe it's just that people like monkeys...