Design for Change Series 5 – Chocooatl

Derrick Lin


Agency: Anthem – Amsterdam & Brussels
Senior Designer: Sandra Wiggers
Location: Netherlands
Project Type: Concept
Packaging Contents: Chocolate Milk
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Aluminium

During the last few months we have all seen a host of changes in both our professional and personal lives — some for good, others less positive. This unique situation has forced many of us to re-appraise our approach to work and indeed our priorities more broadly. Inspired by the opportunities to think and behave differently, Anthem Worldwide’s Amsterdam and Brussels team have been exploring how packaging design can be used to help influence positive change across different categories.

This six part series uses insight and purpose driven concept design to challenge the status quo, elicit behavioural change and improve the user experience — providing new opportunities for brands to create more meaningful and valuable connections with their consumers. Part 5 in the series seeks to create a new category of flavoured milk for adults, using more complex taste profiles and innovative structural packaging design to offer a grown-up and indulgent beverage.

Chocooatl is a conceptual packaging design of spiced chocolate and oat, plant based milk; a grown up product and a mature design to fill a glaring gap in the ready-to-drink market.

The confectionary category is flooded with every conceivable mix of flavoured chocolate — including a vast array of more adult ingredients such as chocolate with chilli, ginger and cinnamon. The demand for such taste profiles is well established, yet it hasn’t yet traversed beyond traditional bar formats. Yes, we have a few health focused plant based chocolate drinks, but why don’t we have the same diversity of flavours as we see within the confectionary aisle?

Historically, both chocolate and chocolate milk are very much a treat, a moment of indulgence and, for many, a guilty pleasure. These emotions are so well embedded in our psyches and, as much as some 90% cacao brands try to convince us otherwise, chocolate is first and foremost about pleasure. Chocolate milk of course, while gratifying, has more playful connotations. Bringing these two together provides an opportunity for a grown up, sophisticated and yet slightly mischievous innovation. It’s this mix of emotions that inspired the design of Chocooatl.

Emulating the traditional hip flask, the structure is made from aluminium, much like a tin can, but shaped to mimic the iconic contours of the traditional hip flask. Using such a format allows the brand concept to embody certain historical and culturally prevalent characteristics; the format cue clearly communicates this is a product for adults, adults who aspire to a degree of high class and adults who perhaps, aspirationally or otherwise, have a rather puckish element to their personalities. The cylindrical screw top is a modern twist on the hip flasks traditional captive top and serves to proudly showcase the brand name. Using such a format also helps create a sense of occasion and ceremony, instantly elevating the product into something rather extraordinary.

Chocoooatl’s brand name was inspired by the etymology of the word chocolate, traced back to the Aztec word ‘xocoatl’, which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. Very much a ‘food of the gods’ this beverage was often infused with similar more complex and adult ingredients.

The graphic design pays homage to this rich and mystical history with each unique illustration providing a grand and somewhat esoteric look and feel, birds of course being considered sacred and divine in Aztec culture. The earthy and rich colour gradients on pack, together with the sheen finish akin to the traditional steel hip flask, help add to the overall premium look and feel of the range.

Chocooatl is designed to appeal to a mature, worldly and adventurous consumer in search of true indulgence and is designed to be enjoyed as an afternoon or evening ritual.