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.
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.
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.