>The story: Nutrisoda (Nutritious+soda) was first developed by Ardea Beverage Co., a subsidiary of PepsiAmericas, to keep people healthy while travelling on a plane, hence its original name: airforce Nutrisoda. Naturally, the first beverage in the line was called Immune. Over time, the brand expanded to include other nutritious sodas, each containing vitamins and nutrients without any sugar, aspartame or sodium. The original eight flavors-Flex, Radiant, Calm, Immune, Renew, Focus, Slender and Energize-were offered in thin, colorful, 8.4oz cans.
>The challenge: Although the cans were visually appealing and eye catching, consumers were associating the skinny cans with the popular energy drink, Red Bull, making them believe Nutrisoda was an energy drink as well. The bright colors featured on the packaging also made consumers connect the product with high sugar content. But worst of all, there was no hierarchy in the design, which prevented consumers from recognizing the brand name and the product at retail. The company faced one of two options: shut down the brand or reformulate, resize and redesign.
>The goal: With help from Minneapolis-based Hunt Adkins, the company was able to narrow down and enhance Nutrisoda’s flavors, increase the can’s size and redesign the packaging. It was the designers’ objective to create brand recognition, while making Nutrisoda’s positioning as a low-calorie, functional, healthy soda alternative obvious to consumers.
>The solution: First, only the most popular flavors were chosen to appear in the new packaging, effectively reducing the number from eight to four. The final four-Calm, Focus, Immune and Energize-were then reformulated for a more refreshing and enjoyable taste. To separate the product from its erroneous association with energy drinks, Nutrisoda moved from 8.4oz to 12oz cans. Plus, the cans were designed with an entirely new purpose.
“One of the key elements was getting the name Nutrisoda as large as possible and readable from a distance,” says Briana Auel, associate creative director, Hunt Adkins.
In doing so, the team was also able to connect the flavor and functional information to the logo through the “s” in the brand name.
Preliminary research showed that consumers connect color with sugar. As a result, the designers chose silver, which is often associated with diet beverages, for the packaging. However, a little bit of color was still needed to separate one flavor from the next. As not to overwhelm consumers, color was used in the bubbles, highlighting and reflecting the flavor and function of each can. For instance, health is normally associated with the color green. Therefore, Immune cans feature green text and yellow and green bubbles to represent the tangerine and lime flavor. Plus, the team’s research found that carbonation (represented by the bubbles) was a core part of the soda experience and would be welcomed by consumers in nutraceutical drinks.
>The results: Nutrisoda is currently hosting a mobile sampling tour in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minn. and San Diego, running through the end of September. After the testing, the company will evaluate traction results and consider a regional or national rollout. Already, the brand has received a great response through online sales, Auel says. The product is available at stores in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minn. and San Diego and online at amazon.com. Nutrisoda plans to complete its pilot market testing in late 2009. BP
Where to go for more information…
Hunt Adkins (612.339.8003, www.huntadkins.com)