So not too long ago I got an e-mail via the site asking if I wanted to try a beverage called “Vacation in a Bottle”. Sure, I thought. Why not? Shortly thereafter a few cans of ViB Chill-N arrived at my door, heavily chilled by the cold Chicago winter.
Now, what ViB’s official website will tell you is that this drink is “a sparkling tropical blend of pomegranate and berries that renders a calm, as smooth as an ocean breeze.” I guess that’s what a vacation in a bottle will do for you… even though it’s in a can. I never could quite figure that one out! (It also appears that other flavors are slated, such as Hang-N and Passion.)
Chill-N comes in a tall, narrow 12 oz. can, decorated in a sunset/sunrise graphic overlooking a body of water. The prominent color scheme is blue, with accents of yellow and white. The large ViB logo is the first thing you’ll notice, and if you look carefully, the actual flavor (Chill-N) is denoted at the bottom, subtitled as “A Pomegranate Berry Wave of Relaxation”. Wrapping the top of the can are the words “Unwind”, “Breathe Easy”, and “Relax”.
This is not an energy drink. It seems more like a light, sparkling beverage, on par with something like Tava or even the bottled Izze line… both of which are owned by PepsiCo. This however drinks more like a light soda rather than a carbonated fruit drink.
Advertising materials and the can itself callout some bullet points that should be noted, such as the inclusion of antioxidants and vitamins, while being a low calorie/low carb option. The drink is also caffeine free. A quick run through the ingredient list shows how the low cal option was pulled off… while the drink does use cane sugar (kudos!), it also contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)).
Upon opening the can, you are greeted with a light, fruity scent. The color of the drink is a translucent pink. As for the taste? Light and berryish. It’s bubbly, but not heavy. Overall, it’s not too bad. The light infusion of pomegranate flavoring reminded me of Pomegranate 7Up. The fruit taste is quite good during the start of the drink, and even the middle hangs on. Unfortunately, the taste of artificial sweeteners seem to linger in the aftertaste, which to me, was not optimal. Those more accustomed to diet beverages may get more positive milage.
A full ingredient list is as follows:
Carbonated water, cane sugar, natural flavors, citric acid, potassium benzoate, potassium citrate, potassium sorbate, L-theanine, L-threonine, maltodextrin, lycii berry extract, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, niacin (Vitamin B3), pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Red 40, cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
An entire 12 oz can (which translates to 1.5 servings, but who is really going to drink half a serving?) will cost you 60 calories, 0 mg of sodium, and 15 g of sugars. As was previously mentioned, this drink is caffeine-free.
ViB Chill-N seems like a solid product from a taste perspective. If I had one glaring criticism, it would be the package design. Frankly, it does not look professional. From a marketing perspective, I’m left with a lot of confusing messages. I see “ViB” on the front, but what exactly is the flavor? I see ocean and sunsets. “Chill-N” is the flavor name, but what does that really tell me? Nothing on the can visually represents “pomegranate”. I understand the theme is to portray a “vacation in a bottle” and all that, but from a customer standpoint, I’d be quite confused if I didn’t take the time to actually read everything on the can… and who does that? ViB could be a solid brand if some more thought and professionalism where added to the visual design. They flavor has a lot going for it; the packaging should support that.
UPDATE (2/11/09): I’ve been informed by ViB’s public relations folks that the can version of this beverage is “temporary.” The final packaging design does, in fact, come in a bottle shape. It also looks like the flavor is clearly denoted, with less confusion regarding “just what the heck is this stuff?” It’s an improvement. Here’s a look:
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