When any ’90s kid casts their mind back to those formative elementary school lunches, specific nostalgic snacks probably come to mind. Certain lunchbox items were more coveted than others— few as much as Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Fruit By The Foot. I have distinct memories of trading my Nutter Butter cookies for my friend’s Gushers whenever she was feeling charitable. This same friend had a superlative snack cabinet at her house, and whenever I was over for a playdate, I would stain my tongue blue by unrolling as many Fruit By The Foots into my mouth as I possibly could before my parents picked me up.
The power these deeply embedded memories hold with so many consumers is not lost on General Mills, the parent company of these three beloved fruit snacks. But as much as those iconic, old-school Gushers’ commercials will live on in millennials’ collective memories for years to come, the brand knew it was time to move on. General Mills wanted a new look that still kept the history of snacks top of mind, so they recently sought out the branding experts over at Pearlfisher for a refresh of each entity that would speak to the modern-day teen.
“As a team who all grew up with these iconic brands and can vividly recall our own experiences eating these snacks, it felt particularly special and incredibly nostalgic to be able to reimagine these brands for today’s teens,” Pearlfisher VP Executive Creative Director Hamish Campbell reminisced in a press release. “Our consumer-first approach to brand building was especially imperative in order to not only pay homage to the cherished equities of the brands, but do so in a way that celebrates the lives of these distinctive age groups and their ever-evolving interests.”
Campbell and his colleague, Drew Stocker (Associate Creative Director at Pearlfisher) generously answered a few of my questions about this project below.
What is the brief GM approached PF with for this refresh project?
Stocker: Dominating the ’90s, Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, and Fruit Rolls Ups have built cultural clout, becoming high-value cafeteria currency. The homogenization of the three brands over the years diluted what the three brands stand for, even resulting in confusion between products— Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit by the Foot in particular.
Our brief was to breathe life back into these absurdly unique fruit snack brands, and to create distinction that reignited their brand love in modern-day teens.
What elements of these beloved and deeply nostalgic food items were Pearlfisher intent on preserving? What aspects needed to be overhauled?
Hamish: With any brand that has an iconic following, it is important to not sacrifice the recognized equities that have built recognition over time. Some of these key features include Gushers’ yellow, scroll-like product visuals for Fruit Roll-Ups, or the overall architecture of the packaging design. Every other aspect of these brands needed to be foundationally overhauled in order to ensure three distinct foundations for the future.
Not only did we revitalize the logos to embrace the most distinct features of each product, but we also added new assets to each brand to create a visual world inspired by the products.
What aspect of this project is your team proudest of?
Stocker: It’s hard to pick one instance of pride within these brands, but I’m most proud and excited about the refreshed Gushers logo, from the juicier type, to the aged-up use of black, to the vibrant gush-splat details. The overall logo update is a modern refresh while not upsetting our longterm lovers of the brand.