An Impossible Rebrand: Targeting Meat-Heads with Plant-Based Products

Category

Branding

Read Time

5 min

Published

17 March, 2024

Impossible Foods is without doubt one of the leading names in the meatless meat (formerly known as vegetarian) sector.

They make Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, they’ve got breakfast locked down over at IHOP, and recently the company was valued at over $7 billion.

Between Impossible and Beyond Meat, they’ve got the meatless meat sector locked down. Move over Linda McCartney.

So then… the rebrand.

As typical within the plant based food sector, Impossible had previously focused their brand and marketing efforts on the science and the “doing good for the plant” type vibe that everyone has come to expect.

But there was always a great little nugget (pun intended) of an idea bubbling away behind the scenes at Impossible HQ.

Impossible Foods Rebrand - Product Packaging Design

The name itself plays into it. “It’s impossible that plant based food tastes that great. Impossible, this non-burger burger tastes just like a burger-burger…” and so on.

And that’s what their rebrand is all about.

They’ve brought in Jones Knowles Ritchie, because who wouldn’t do that if they were a food brand and had the budget to spend?

Their task? The Impossible… to reposition the brand and redesign their identity to appeal firmly to meat eaters.

They’ve taken everything and made it look as bloody and meaty as possible. It’s big, bold, and red, and it works.

Realising that the traditional narrative around plant-based products was predominantly geared towards vegetarians, we needed an approach that was capable of shaking up the animal agriculture industry and appealing to a wider demographic. By strategically positioning Impossible in the meat aisle, we’re aiming to entice meat enthusiasts to savour ‘more meat,’ while also integrating the brand into the cultural occasions cherished by meat aficionados everywhere. – Lisa Smith, ECD Global at JKR

Impossible Rebrand - Logo Gif

The new brand identity subtly modifies the existing Impossible wordmark. It’s a small but bold tweak. They’ve brought the serifs of the S shapes further towards the centre line, emphasising a bolder feeling with the wordmark.

They’ve also introduced one of the best named custom typefaces I’ve ever heard of.

“Sans Meat” is a new typeface designed by JKR that is inspired by the traditional hand-lettering and signage seen in the world of markets and traditional butcher shops. This visual inspiration runs through the entire identity design system.

But why is the name so clever?

“Sans” meaning without. “Sans” in typeform normally means “without serif.” Sans Meat is a sans-serif font, but “Without Meat” being well… without meat. It’s nerdy, but I’m here for it!

The new typeface usage is the one area of the brand that I think isn’t as refined as it could be. The supporting promotional posters are brilliantly designed, but when it’s just the type alone, it feels unfinished.

Impossible Foods Rebrand - Old and New Packaging Design

The new packaging looks about as meaty as it can be. It’s visual style imitates that of a real meat product. It’s slabby, heavy, and weighty looking.

Gone are the “startup greens” and overt references to animal welfare. In comes more nutritional information in a bid to keep the “good for the planet” style lecturing to a minimum, something that the plant based community are often roasted for.

Impossible Foods Rebrand - Colour Palette

The new red palette takes it’s hues directly from the stages of cooking meat; rare, medium, well-done, and charred, ranging from bright red to a deep claret.

You can expect to see the new Impossible packaging, beef and otherwise, in the “rare” red, a nod back to their original product, the plant-based burger that bleeds.

Confession time. I’m a meat eater. My wife isn’t. Either way, I can say with 100% confidence, I don’t want to be thinking about my food bleeding while I’m eating it. Sick emoji.

The new red colours will be supported by secondary and tertiary colours across their other brand touchpoints, including ‘chicken red’, ‘planet blue’, and ‘plant green’. You can see these over on the Impossible website when browsing through their product range.

Impossible Foods Rebrand - Poster Design

Again, the brand leans on imitating the meat eating world with it’s photography style, taking their visual cues from the mouth-watering food style photography found in burger joints the world over.

Impossible Foods Rebrand - Social Media Design

The whole thing comes together beautifully and the end result is a brand identity design system that is sure to resonate with Impossible’s target audience.

Smith adds:

It’s not just about adopting a new lifestyle or trying something in a different category – it’s about transforming how we eat. By reshaping perceptions of the brand, we’re showing meat eaters that eating Impossible is not a sacrifice, but rather a delicious reward.

JKR have made the impossible possible, and yet again delivered another visual feast.

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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