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Innocent Drinks: The Juicy Lowdown

May 20, 2015 - Added by Sync IE     722 views     0 likes     0 comments
At Sync NI we have always appreciated the inventive and fun style associated with Innocent Drinks so were delighted to chat to a member of the team. We asked Damian Hughes, Marketing Manager and ‘Smoothie Operator’, a few questions about the brand.

How would you describe the innocent brand?

I would say it is natural, relevant, intelligent and slightly irreverent with a strong social conscience.  I remember when I first came across the brand 15 years ago I was instantly struck by the personal touches on its packaging and the invitation to call “Fruit Towers” for a chat.  I think key to the brand’s success is not only its yummy, natural products and instantly recognizable brand properties, but also the way it understands its drinkers and connects with them in meaningful and engaging ways.  The innocent brand purpose is very simple - to get fruit and veg into people, so that we can all can live well and die old! 

It is important to note we have a serious side too. We are committed to taking responsibility for our impact on society and the environment. We do this by sourcing our delicious ingredients from suppliers who look after both their workers and the environment, using as much recycled or renewable material as possible in our packaging and donating 10% of our profits to charity. 

How did you get started in Marketing?

I was always fascinated by brands and the consumer buyer decision process, but I also loved languages and foreign cultures. I came across a degree course in International Marketing and Languages in Dublin City University which combined both of these passions, so in my 17 year old head it was the way to go.  After finishing my primary degree I did a postgrad in Marketing Practice in the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD.  After graduating I was offered a place on the Unilever Graduate Programme, where my first role was looking after take-home ice cream.  Since then I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing brands like Cadbury, Danone and LandRover. I joined innocent as Marketing Manager early this year, and I have loved every minute of my role so far.

Describe a “day in the life” at innocent HQ?

Fruit Towers is a fantastic place to work! Where else would you find a carpet made out of fake grass with daisies growing out of it, and access to delicious juice and smoothies? I enjoy working alongside dedicated and enthusiastic people who live the values of being natural, entrepreneurial, responsible, commercial and generous.  I know this is going to sound very clichéd, but really no two days are the same here.  For example yesterday I was at the launch of innocent’s joint initiative with Grow It Yourself (GIY) called Sow and Grow.  The purpose of Sow and Grow is to get children growing veggies and educating them about the importance of having 5 portions of fruit and veg per day – unfortunately 1 in 4 Irish kids don’t reach this quota. 


However today, I am working on innocent Unplugged; an event that will take place in a secret woodland location outside London on the 23rd and 24th of May.  The weekend is all about disconnecting from the world of technology and enjoying great music, listening to awesome guest speakers, feasting on a banquet fit for a king and a host of other fun and ‘definitely not plugged in’ activities.  I had intended to do some invoicing today, but I think I’ll leave that now until Monday…

Innocent have a ‘tongue and cheek’ /creative presence, how is this achieved?

Central to innocent’s distinctive creative presence is the brand’s tone of voice.  At innocent we make natural products for people just like us.  The innocent tone came from friends talking to friends (the 3 founders), so speaking and writing naturally are at the heart of everything we do.  Relevance resonates.  The best copy and creative pieces are based on original insights relating to our drinkers and our products.  We appreciate that our drinkers not only look great, but have a healthy dose of grey matter between their ears too, so we try to always keep our copy erudite, stimulating and interesting.  We don’t dumb things down.  We also get some great ideas by engaging in conversations with our wonderful drinkers, which we then use as public facing content. For instance we’re proud supporters of Penguin Awareness Day because a nice guy called Paul told us that the day existed. Thanks Paul!

How have Innocent captured the digital trends?

We have a group of really bright and beautiful people working on our digital team who are all over what’s happening in the wonderful world of digital.  If they don’t know about a trend, then it’s either not worth knowing about or it’s ‘so yesterday’ that they have forgotten all about it.  On Facebook and Twitter, we’ve built up a hub of funny, creative, interesting followers who are always giving us fresh content ideas and helping us keep on top of what the next big thing will be.

What challenges do Innocent face?

Our vision is to be the earth’s favourite little healthy drink company.  It is a big task, but we think it’s important to have something to strive towards.  We need to always keep our drinkers at the heart of what we do and ensure that our brand offerings, events and communications material continue to delight them.  There is no doubt that there is some strong competition out there that we have to face, but never underestimate the power of a group of people who believe in what they’re doing, some grassy vans, loads of delicious fruit and veg and the occasional corny joke.  (like this quote, we could maybe make it stand out)

What does the future hold for Innocent?

The future is just peachy for innocent. The company is in a very exciting phase of its journey.  We are expanding into new territories and launching new and exciting products, such as Coconut Water, which is hitting stores around now.

If you were a smoothie, what flavour would you be and why?

Sometimes I think I am half smoothie already thanks to the amount I drink – it’s not my fault my desk is close to the office’s grassy fridge.  If you insist that I come up with a less evasive answer, then I would say I would be one of our delicious new range of Super Smoothies, because of my super strength and amazing speed….did I mention I could be corny? 

Follow @innocentIreland

This article is featured in the Sync NI Spring magazine.