Chocolate … and More

I fell in love with Tom Peters when I saw him on a webcast with Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi, back in December '04, talking about Lovemarks. I, too, am incredibly passionate about branding and delighted when I come across a company that "gets" the customer experience and knows how to have fun.

My new love is Graffiti Zoo, a chocolate and spice company. I discovered Graffiti Zoo while touring the chocolate exhibit at the History Museum in Atlanta a week ago. At the end of the exhibit, there was a room full of chocolate ... lots of different brands offering lots of different flavors. Not your everyday M&Ms, but unique products not sold in your typical grocery store. As I strolled with delight contemplating eating everything in sight, Graffiti Zoo jumped out at me—its name and packaging struck me in a unique way. Unlike most other chocolates that were in the form of bars, this chocolate was in a little white bag with simple black and white text. "Hmmmm, I wonder what's inside?" I thought. And, "Where does the name Graffiti Zoo come from?" Then, I saw that they "donate a percentage of [their] profits to The Conservation Endowment Fund of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association. ... the CEF has greatly advanced the mission to serve & protect the wonders of the natural world." Not only am I a certified chocoholic, but also a lover of animals and nature. It's a match made in heaven! Then I explored their different flavors: Zebras, Espresso Geckos, Barking Dogs, Bohemian Tree Frogs, Chilean Fire Ants, Moroccan Elephants, and, the one I picked, Pink Flamingos ("Crunchy Milk Chocolate, with the Tropical Flavors of Red Cherries & Fresh Coconut"). Mmmmmm ... those didn't last long.

I was so excited about the product, I decided to send some to my parents (I inherited my sweet tooth from my mother). I ordered several different flavors and had them shipped directly to their home (I considered stopping off at one of the local retailers, but I was afraid I'd eat it all before I could get it shipped). Two days later the box arrived at their doorstep. My mother couldn't wait to tell me it arrived ... packaged in a black bag with 3 different colors of tissue paper and a bright blue bow, each flavor of chocolate individually wrapped inside, each with its own story. I asked my mother to share her favorite, which it turns out is from the package of Moroccan Elephants (smooth milk chocolate with the passion of orange zest & spicy ginger):

The tree frog & elephant were an unlikely pair, as they traveled the world together. The elephant lumbering quietly along, with the frog riding high in the air. The tree frog would perch on the elephant's ear and whisper so softly, "go this way my dear" ... pointing out the trees & succulent leaves for the elephant to munch upon ... Because the poor elephant, as smart as she was, had misplaced her spectacles & could only see fuzz. Her world was a blur, but it didn't deter the elephant from exploring new lands. ... So off they went, to travel the world for they were the best of friends ...

I hope you'll discover Graffiti Zoo, too.