Design Review: Repositioning of Aquafina FlavorSplash


Guest reviewer Fred Hart is a graphic designer and strategist in the consumer package goods industry. Explore his design review of Aquafina FlavorSplash, both the original namesake as well as the relaunched sparkling water version

Previously discontinued flavored water brand Aquafina FlavorSplash has been revived by PepsiCo and is set to hit markets within the next year.

Aquafina FlavorSplash Sparkling Water

Relaunched: Aquafina FlavorSplash Sparkling Water

The all-new branding and packaging is a huge departure from its previous iteration and looks to target the teen demographic more effectively.

Original Aquafina FlashSplash packaging

Original Aquafina FlashSplash packaging
(Source: cvcoffee.com)

The previous packaging was sub-brand heavy, with the FlavorSplash wordmark overpowering Aquafina. Utilizing small color coding along the top with flavor specific photography along the bottom, the design was water-centric with minimal emphasis on flavor. Structurally, FlavorSplash used the same proprietary bottle as Aquafina, and from a product standpoint, it was clear in nature, as well as still, positioned as a flavorful water alternative.

Aquafina FlavorSplash: Old vs. New Designs

Aquafina FlavorSplash: Old vs. New Designs

The renewed product and packaging has radically shifted from its previous execution. The structure looks like a slightly taller and skinnier version of the Aquafina water bottle, implying health and fitness. No longer clear nor still, FlavorSplash is now carbonated and colored, positioning itself directly as a CSD alternative and competitor to Talking Rain's Ice, Glaceau's FruitWater, and LaCroix's Spree. The move away from water to fill the effervescent 'refreshment gap' makes sense, with young and health-conscious consumers growing by the minute and abandoning both regular and diet sodas.

As a result, the branding and packaging reflect these product and consumer changes. The label is a simple two-color execution, with the primary flavor color flooding the entire label area. Both Aquafina and the FlavorSplash sub-brand are reduced to a surprisingly small scale, taking an unconventional back seat in hierarchy to the witty flavor name/copy, which is displayed prominently in a bold and expressive script that accounts for all of the brand character.

From Still & Clear to Sparkling & Colored

From Still & Clear to Sparkling & Colored

This feels like an explicit attempt at anti-branding, in an effort to appear authentic to ad and marketing conscious consumers, notably savvy up-and-coming teens with a keen sense of awareness. It's a bold and strategic move, zigging graphically while the category zags, and almost makes you forget that it's made by 'the man,' Aquafina & PepsiCo.

In all, this is much more than a simple package refresh; the positioning, product development, branding and design have all been retooled for a renewed shot at success on shelf. If nothing else, it abandons the play-it-safe mentality of a large corporation, which I applaud. However it makes me wonder whether PepsiCo would be better off creating an entirely new brand rather than carry along all of the baggage, both good and bad, that comes with Aquafina.

Does Aquafina have enough brand stretch to get into CSDs? Does it bring relevance to the water enhancement category? Clearly a newcomer approach like MiO holds merit, so it'll be interesting to whether Aquafina's backing hurts or helps, but judging by the way they've treated it, it seems to be the former.

Comments

  1. The color me kiwi didn't taste to good to me.

  2. Borkus I. Tup says:

    Go Grape is NOT carbonated and tastes exactly like the previous FlavorSplash Grape flavored-water product. I liked the original product, and bought it often, but when they changed to label to the New all "purple" one, I almost missed buying it because I was looking for the previous product. It was only because I really like the product and was SEARCHING the shelves, hoping for the possibility that there might be a 6-pack hidden behind other flavors, that I ACCIDENTLY found it on another shelf… I had moved it TWICE and was ready to walk away, upset that I could not find it, when I noted the Aquafina name on the label. One of the pitfalls of "modernizing" the product packaging is that the consumer may not find it and think it is no longer produced.

  3. alleyrulez says:

    liked it better BEFORE. adding the color and changing the design/name were not smart moves, IMO.

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