Madrinas Coffee Levels Up With Brand Refresh From Moxie Sozo
by Rudy Sanchez on 03/14/2022 | 5 Minute Read
Gamers have long sought an edge from caffeinated drinks. Early examples were highly charged sodas filled with sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. But just as gaming has evolved, the expectation of caffeinated beverages has also left behind the chemical-tasting coffee or sickly sweet sodas.
One former competitive Halo player and Twitch streamer knew from personal experience the positive boost caffeine gives and the drawbacks from all the other stuff in typical energy drinks. Alex Davis, aka AL3X, founded Madrinas with his brother Justin to provide gamers and content creators with a coffee that uses all-natural ingredients for a clean fuel up that also tastes great.
Madrinas now offers whole bean, cold brew, and green coffee shakeable mixes, the latter using caffeine extract from unroasted beans for gamers that prefer non-coffee-based flavors. You'll find classics like dark roast, mocha, and vanilla along with cafe-inspired flavors such as peppermint mocha, dark chocolate salted caramel, dark chocolate raspberry, and cinnamon chocolate churro. The Green Coffee mixes include blueberry pomegranate, a guava-orange-mango medley called Tropical, and raspberry lemonade. Basically, everything you need for chasing ghouls and goblins.
The coffee brand recently underwent a brand refresh, once again calling upon the talented folks at Moxie Sozo, who had worked with Madrinas on its RTD cold beverage line. Madrinas was moving away from canned coffee and introducing green coffee-powered drinks, so it felt like it was time for a new direction.
“When Madrinas came to us with this project, it was like, ‘hey, we need to reintroduce ourselves to our audience,'" says Derek Springston, chief creative officer and partner at Moxie Sozo. "Madrinas had moved away from cans and saw a need to speak more to the consumers it finally understood to be its core market—video gamers and streamers—instead of casting too wide a net."
Not only did Madrinas get a brand new look, but they also leveled up in a big way. The visual identity now communicates essential information like the flavor, amount of caffeine per serving, calories, and that it’s instant and easy to mix. And it was all part of the master plan, as the upstart coffee maker made a significant shift to instant mixes. Plus, they needed to introduce their fruit-flavored blends with green coffee caffeine.
Unlike most other gamer coffee brands, Madrinas’ new branding doesn’t focus on wizards, aliens, robots, and other familiar gaming tropes. Instead, the new labels make the flavors player one. The illustrations from designer Taylor Holloway are full of depth and character, and the limited color palettes and paneling give the packaging a dynamic comic book sheen. Bold sans type gets utilized to broadcast principal information; the secondary type has more flourish and does double work as accents.
“Madrinas was very cognizant about gaming being different for different gamers,” says Mike Bowman, senior account executive, Moxie Sozo. “We went retro at one point, and that's inclusive of some gamers, but not younger ones. There are also just so many genres. Rather than hone in on one thing, we kept it broad stylistically.”
“The Madrinas team tasked us with evolving the brand to feel more sophisticated than the other gamer-focused offerings out there,” adds Lynelle Saunders, account manager at Moxie Sozo. “The brand is growing up, and they wanted to show this with a more mature design that speaks to their core audience.
“We pulled back from being overtly masculine; we had some early concepts that were slightly more aggressive,” mentions Nate Dyer, creative director and partner, Moxie Sozo. “Some were done in a more traditional video game art style. But, with the new style, the subject can be pushed a little darker and not feel like a horror movie, which we tried a little bit in the early stages. We ended up moving towards more flavor-specific illustrations, however. Originally, we focused more on telling a story around the flavor and product rather than showing the flavor specifically. Ultimately, pushing taste appeal was the direction to go.”
Regardless, the cold brew offerings feel right at home in a critical darling graphic novel, while the bold and colorful illustrations for the Green Coffee Fuelers are a technicolor finishing move.
"While our old packaging was creative, it lacked a sense of sophistication and consistency, which Moxie helped us achieve," says Madrinas creative manager Taylor Holloway.
"I've always been a big believer in designing for a purpose," Taylor adds. "Something might look cool, but what's the meaning behind it? Why were all these individual elements used, and what was the inspiration behind them? Do they connect to the overall theme or message of the piece? Moxie took the time to research every detail of our brand, products, and flavors, and it showed up in the work they produced."
In all likelihood, a gamer’s introduction to Madrinas might be on a Twitch live stream. With bold illustrations, a sophisticated color palette, and panels, the packaging and new branding are ready-made for the gaming world, whether on-stream or in a screenshot shared on social media. More importantly, the Madrinas refresh keeps the brand inclusive of all gamers by focusing on the flavors instead of game genres. And with Moxie Sozo's clear, extensible system, the brand has a winning template for future offerings.
GG Moxie Sozo.