Derrick Lin


Agency: WonderWhy
Brand and Project Director: Filipa Robalo
Creative Director & copywriter: Ricardo Miranda
Designer (Brand & Packaging): Vasco Valentim
Designer (Communication): Afonso Arraiano
Location: Portugal
Project Type: Produced
Client: Azeite Maltês
Product Launch Location: Europe
Packaging Contents: EVOO
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Glass bottle, paper
Printing Process: Offset printing, foil, emboss

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is not a virgin brand theme in Portugal. These days it seems that every owner of a piece of Portuguese land has one. We could say it’s fashionable, which is not so strange for a country perfectly suited to cultivate olive oil. So, the market is fierce. Still, it strikes us as awkward that with so many competitors they all seem to communicate their EVOO brand in the same way: highlighting the quality, the olive oil’s origin, the legacy, the geography, the care, and so on. As if there is no room for new angles such as humour, storytelling, folklore or anything else that could be seen as a genuine brand differentiator.

Pedro Balancho was another Portuguese landowner looking to create an olive oil. But there was something different about him: he wanted to produce not just a cool olive oil to show off to friends & family, but a world-class EVOO. He knew a dream like this comes at a price: so, he invested his savings planting 160.000 olive oil trees in his family’s estate; he adopted “food forest product” and other sustainable practices; he recruited a top oleologist to ‘design’ his olive oil; he briefed the design agency to create a brand that wouldn’t just folow the category’s high-profile aesthetics and trends, but mainly and primarily would get its inspiration from Guadiana region’s ancient rural folklore and storytelling. Thus Maltês (pronounced “mal-te-sh”) was born. A brand that takes its purpose seriously but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Maltês is the name of a well-known nursery rhyme every Portuguese knows from childhood (“Once upon a time there was a Maltese cat…”). Since Maltês is a character, we decide to create a new Maltês character for the first olive oil production. An eccentric nomadic figure who roams the desolate Guadiana landscape searching for the best olive trees and the best olives which he picks, prunes, and harvests to produce the best olive oil. He knows it’s not the best EVOO in the world, but he’s working on it. The packaging highlights the Maltês character in all his folkloric muppet-like splendour. It also shows the landscape’s fauna and flora that shape him and his olive oil.