When it comes to environmentally conscious products, the age of po-faced earnestness is well and truly coming to an end. With brands like Oatly and THIS shifting the tone of plant-based brands, we’re entering an era where making responsible choices for the good of the planet can be done with a wry smile.
That’s very much the direction that LikeMeat is facing. The food brand - which produces non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free products made with high-quality ingredients, packaged in Earth-friendly trays made from 95% recycled materials - recently partnered with 72andSunny Amsterdam. The result wasn’t a TV commercial or a poster campaign, it was the LikeMeat Nugget Pocket. The first utility vest that offers stylish snackers the ability to keep their plant-based nuggets warm for up to 90 minutes.
It’s “a functional vest with serious fashionability”, made of certified organic cotton, upcycled food delivery bags and pockets that offer easy access to napkins and dipping sauces, equipping nugget lovers with everything they could ask for to support their street-snacking endeavours.
It turns out the idea was initially included in 72andSunny’s pitch to LikeMeat, but it was one of those weird ideas that they thought would end up in the bin. But their new client embraced the weirdness, meaning the agency ended up working with local fashion studio Leemans en Wicker to concept and produce it.
To hear how such an unconventional project made it out into the world, LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to 72andSunny designer Matt Purcell, producer Luke Judlin and writer Constanze Bilogan.
LBB> I heard that this idea was first born as part of your pitch to LikeMeat. What was behind the idea back then?
Matt> It was definitely a wild-card concept, probably the stupidest idea we ever presented to them. We knew we wanted to speak to meat-lovers (not just vegetarians) in their own communities and subcultures. Winning them over with a smirk and stupid-fun work felt like the best way to introduce ourselves to the people that have preconceptions about plant-based meat.
LBB> When the client decided to go for it, what were your thoughts?
Connie> We were just thrilled that with LikeMeat we have a client who’s excited, brave and open to stupidly fun work – it got us excited for all the briefs to come and for the potential to build a brand with them that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
LBB> Why was a pocket / vest like this so right for a brand like LikeMeat?
Connie> Sometimes the best way to tell someone you love them is not to walk up to them and say “I love you.” LikeMeat is a plant-based meat brand on a mission to champion pleasure over pressure. They are not here to judge people, educate them or guilt trip them when they indulge – the opposite, they encourage it. LikeMeat wants to be known for fun, lightheartedness and bringing good vibes to people – and a vest with an insulated nugget pocket felt like a charming, low-pressure way to say, “we love you, nugget lovers.”
LBB> How did the idea change to reach its final form and what shaped those decisions?
Matt> The idea evolved naturally with a very creative comms strategy in mind. We wanted to tap into passionate social media subcultures and bridge the gap between “snack worship” and “fashion hype” culture.
Luke> We started with the pocket and expanded out from there; the hypebeast, streetwear world is ripe with brilliant reference, tone and outright silliness, so it was a fun place to pop our heads into. It felt right that the final idea bridged a homage and a wink.
LBB> When it came to getting it made, what were the various challenges you had to overcome?
Matt> Designing and producing an ethically made item of clothing at pace was definitely a challenge for us. So finding a partner that could move quickly and produce a garment that could stand up next to leading fashion brands was absolutely crucial.
Luke> Sourcing our delivery bags for upcycling was an adventure in itself. Amsterdam had just started implementing a curfew and they quickly became a hot commodity. There were various hilarious dealings with ex-delivery couriers, handing over their tattered delivery bags in the dead of night. All for the sake of sustainable fashion.
LBB> What was the process like working with a local fashion studio? Were there any memorable moments?
Matt> The look on their faces when we first presented our idea was absolutely priceless. It wouldn’t have been possible to make the vests with the detail we needed without Leemans en Wicker. We worked through the garment construction together and added in layers of comic details throughout the process.
Luke> LEW studio were real troopers throughout the process. Keeping a straight face and acting professional whilst we explained why we absolutely needed hidden pockets for hot sauces or an easy access napkin dispenser. It’s always encouraging when you have partners who are happy to go as dumb as you are.
LBB> How did you choose who would get a pocket?
Connie> We chose Stella Bossi as our lead influencer to show off the Nugget Pocket. Her tongue-in-cheek, bold and wonderfully silly content made her the perfect fit for the vest. Together with LikeMeat’s PR agency, we then selected a range of micro influencers from the fashion and food world to complete the set. A few vests were also given away to Stella’s and LikeMeat’s social followers.
Luke> Did you get a pocket? I don’t even have a pocket.
LBB> What have the reactions been like? And will you be making more pockets if there's demand?
Connie> From “I didn’t know I needed this until now”, over “Shut up and take my money!” to “Please start selling this”, people were hyping the vest like the hot fashion piece it is ;) the requests for purchasing a vest came in left and right, but in the end it’s a strictly limited piece and that’s what makes it so great. Consequently… personally I have been eating a lot more plant-based nuggets.