Coca-Cola Thinks We Need Another Brand Of Sparkling Water, Announces AHA

by Rudy Sanchez on 11/08/2019 | 2 Minute Read

The latest entry into the Battle of Sparkling Water comes from beverage juggernaut Coca-Cola, as they announced a new line of flavored sparkling waters called AHA. With a touch of caffeine, providing a soda alternative with a kick, they differentiated the product through unusual pairings they chose after extensive testing.

Diving into the crowded sparkling water space at a moment when hipster darling La Croix has fallen is a bold move, necessitating a perhaps an equally striking brand and visual identity. Coca-Cola collaborated with UK-based design agency Taxi Studio to create a brand seemingly tailored to every consumer, one that brings to life the line’s eight unexpected pairings visually.

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The team went through several iterations, looking for that visual balance that succeeded in communicating both the flavor pairing and making it as approachable a brand as possible across several touchpoints.

Each flavor features a unique color-pairing, using unexpected visual combinations representing the ingredients. Illustrations of fruit and other details appear almost as a garnish, a subtle nod to AHA’s more complex composition than the average fizzy water.

“Our initial explorations centered on a more white or neutral base. But we realized that the look skewed too premium, whereas a bright, single-color treatment wasn’t premium enough. We had to find a middle ground, which is how we ended up with these lovely split-color designs, which are fun without being tacky or loud and clearly showcase the flavor pairings,” said Trey Veal, senior design manager at Coca-Cola and who oversees visual identity system development and packaging design for the North America water and active hydration portfolio.

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The importance of packaging was particularly significant for AHA. “Packaging is essentially our on-shelf billboard, and in many cases is the consumers’ first touchpoint with our brands," Veal added. "Shoppers see our packs on the store shelf or notice someone drinking a bottle or can out in public. It’s an incredibly valuable asset, so it has to stand out and make an immediate impression. Especially with a new brand like AHA in a category like sparkling water.”

AHA also relays a playful and relaxed attitude with an ever-so-subtle exclamation point hidden in the H of AHA’s logo, which, once you see, you’ll never unsee.

Flavors available at launch include Apple & Ginger, Black Cherry & Coffee, Blueberry & Pomegranate, Citrus & Green Tea, Lime & Watermelon, Orange & Grapefruit, Peach & Honey, and Strawberry & Cucumber, available in 12 and 16oz cans. All flavors are calorie-free and contain 30mg of caffeine per serving.

Coca-Cola says that the new line of beverages, the first brand debut for the beverage giant since 2006’s Gold Peak iced tea, will be available beginning in March 2020.

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