BevNET 2007 Best Children's Product: Bot

Coming up with a great beverage for kids is hard because you can’t just trumpet health or great taste. You’ve got to sell it with a helping of person­ality, the kind that appeals to kids without turning off parents.

There are a flood of low-sugar, fortified, all-juice, little juice, or zero- juice drinks, each using health as the selling point, on the market. But none of them had the sense of fun of the fledgling brand bot, an en­hanced water for kids. Its owners sought a simple yet endearing packag­ing scheme so attractive it transcends the category’s typical product claim one-upmanship.

At the heart of the scheme are a trio of adorable critters who practi­cally leap off the label with their aura of fun and whimsy. Resembling the offspring from a mating of the South Park brats with the denizens of the Boobah Zone, Orangebot, Grapebot and Berrybot serve as mascots for the brand, taking a relatively simple product and infusing it with playfulness.

Beverage Spectrum spoke with the founders of bot, New Jersey parents Brian and Cynthia “Cricket” Allen, about their little critter creations.

Beverage Spectrum: How did you come up with the cute characters? Cricket Allen: With the characters, we were looking at how we wanted to brand the product. We wanted something contemporary, friendly, modern and unique, and we thought the characters sort of stood up to those goals.

BS: Do they have names?

Brian Allen: Berrybot, Orangebot and Grapebot

BS: What are their personalities like?

Brian: They each, from a personality side – they all have their endearing qualities. Berry can fl y, and that’s really cool. Go to our Web site, and you can see they have little adventures.

Cricket: We wanted to give life to the brand beyond the bottle. On the site we wanted them to see the dimension of the characters.

(NOTE: A trip to the site reveals that in one of the adventures, Grapebot appears to pass gas. In another, he removes his eyes and has them eaten by a bird. Orangebot blows up like a balloon. Hit by a magic wand, Berrybot loses all manner of shape and appears to melt. Perhaps they are not such endearing little imps after all.)

BS: Looks like something out of a Dali painting.

Brian: Well, they are in what’s called “bot land.” There’s an ethereal side to it, let’s say that. They don’t have an age. There’s no aging.

BS: Can they, uh, reproduce at all? Will there be more fl avors and more critters?

Cricket: The family will be growing. We’ll be intro­ducing a new member at Expo West. It’ll be the first new member.

BS: Do you think the line is ready for it?

Cricket: It does become more challenging. There’s the creative back and forth, the flavor profile, which we’ve (already) had to tweak quite a bit.

BS: And what about critter acceptance? Do you think they’ll haze the new guy?

Brian: There might be some of that, yeah. They might have a break-in period.