How a Monkey Found its Mojo

We are constantly on the lookout for interesting brand stories and how companies are trying to create an emotional connection with their customers through the stories they tell.

Most brand stories read like a press release: who, what, where and the ‘a-ha’ moment of why it was created. The majority of the time they are factual, dry and not very effective at creating a point of differentiation. It’s rare to find one that breaks with tradition.

A coconut water brand that caught our attention is Michelberger’s Fountain of Youth with the tagline ‘bust a nut’.

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In the world of coconut water, according to Mintel, “the number of product introductions more than quintupled (+540%) in the past five years (2008/2012) and products containing it have been taking off on an international scale.”

Every day there seems to be a new brand of coconut water on the grocery shelves. Do you drink Vita Coco because Rihanna and Madonna have invested in it? Or perhaps because your local yoga studio sells it?

For anyone who is familiar with Berlin, Michelberger is a very unique budget hotel that opened in 2009. They call themselves ‘a handcrafted, original space for the social city traveller’.

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This could have easily been Fountain of Youth’s brand story as described by the Michelbergers: “Last year when we were on holiday, we fell in love with a wonderful and healthy drink. Fresh, young coconut water! After we got home, we thought it would be great to bring that drink here so that we could have a bit of that sunshine feeling every day and share it with our friends.

After lots of searching and travelling and tasting and learning, we finally found the perfect farm growing the tastiest coconuts, and now it’s finally ready to share. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says of coconut water that: “It’s the fluid of life.” We say: It’s the Fountain of Youth.’”

But as Michelberger is not your average budget hotel, they went one step further and created a unique brand story with the help of their super talented creative director Azar Kazimir.

Azar created the logo and typography,


the packaging with ‘shelf appeal’ (520ml cans – another differentiating element from the tetra pack packaging most coconut waters use),


and illustrated the story for the website. The brilliantly animated story is about a monkey on a quest for eternal life.

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See the full animation here

In addition to being sold as a retail product, it’s also an unusual advertising vehicle for the hotel brand and creates a strong usp for the cocktails sold in their bar.

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We only wish other brands would follow their lead and put storytelling at the heart of their brands.

By Scott Wittman

Cover image credit: Azar Kazimir for Michelberger 

Gorgeous Group

Hello Gorgeous! We’re a London-based consultancy that have been creating amazing stories for the hospitality industry since 1999.

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