As a father to a 2-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old son, Vita Coco Co-Founder Michael Kirban was concerned about the number of artificial, sugary drinks marketed to children. Therefore, he decided to leverage the New York-based company’s Vita Coco brand to create a healthful coconut water line specifically for kids between the ages of 2 and 8.

Once a formulation was developed, however, it needed a kid- and parent-friendly package design to get it off store shelves. Thus, Vita Coco teamed up with New York-based design firm Moxie TM Inc. to create the branding and packaging for new Vita Coco Kids, which is available in Paradise Punch, Apple Island and Very Cherry Beach flavors.

“Translating the distinctive Vita Coco brand voice and bringing it to life in the kids category required finding just the right tone,” said Tammy Vaserstein, creative principal of Moxie TM, in a statement. “We wanted to retain the whimsical and quirky personality of the core brand but in a kid-appropriate way that balances the better-for-you message for parents while being fun and engaging for kids.”

To do so, the design firm maintained the Vita Coco logo but added a hanging sign, similar to one used for a beachfront restaurant, with the word “Kids” etched in a custom font resembling a child’s handwriting. It also stayed consistent with the brand’s color palette of bright blues and greens, Vaserstein says. Each Vita Coco Kids flavor shows a tropical beach scene with palm trees and coconut illustrations coupled with real fruit photography to communicate taste. A color-coded umbrella arc at the top of each carton also provides a billboard effect on the shelf while providing flavor differentiation.

Working closely with Vita Coco’s brand and marketing team, Moxie TM created original, flavor-specific characters to highlight the flavor and whimsical nature of the products.

“To remain true to the brand, we only included animals that belonged on a beach or in a rainforest and then infused them with personality and style to serve as the face of the flavors: a toucan for Very Cherry Beach, a parrot for Apple Island, and a monkey for Paradise Punch,” Vaserstein said in a statement.

Additional characters were created for the multi-pack boxes, brand website and point-of-sale materials to further communicate the Vita Coco Kids story. On the multi-pack boxes, the characters are shown frolicking and communicating through overhead speech bubbles to engage kids while age-appropriate games such as “connect the dots” provide additional value and fun for the children, Moxie TM notes.

When designing the graphics, the team had to determine how much emphasis to put on the coconut image. “It was all about finding the right visual balance,” Vaserstein says. “Our challenge was to create a balance of the coconut visual, which is important to the product/brand and also with moms (to clearly understand the benefits), while still appealing to kids.

“Throughout the design process, we better understood what resonated more with children with regard to the coconut via testing,” she continues. “We understood that when the coconut was very large and prominent and present on the primary display panel, it didn’t really resonate with kids.”

To overcome this obstacle, the design firm clearly displayed fruit on the packaging that children are familiar with and integrated the coconut with the fruit by using it as a sitting place for the animal characters, she explains.

To demonstrate the healthfulness of the Vita Coco Kids line, the side and back panels display the product’s nutritional information. A chart comparing Vita Coco Kids’ nutrient levels and calories with other children’s drinks also helps parents understand the beverages’ ingredients and proposition, the design firm says.

Vita Coco Kids is packaged in Tetra Pak’s Wedge Aseptic carton, which features an ergonomic shape that is easy for children to hold. An attached straw and straw insertion spot at the top add to the enjoyment of drinking the beverages, the company says.

“Overall, we tried to stay true to the Vita Coco brand ethos,” Vaserstein says.

 Vita Coco Kids launched nationally in July with a suggested retail price of $4.99 for a six-pack of 6-ounce cartons. The design firm also created an 18-pack for club stores that combines all three flavors of the multi-packs shrink-wrapped together. The launch is being supported by an out-of-home advertising campaign in major markets.