Forget Energy Drinks; Now There Are Energy Sprays (With Some Much-Needed Pzaz)
by Bill McCool on 06/15/2022 | 5 Minute Read
Energy drinks leave a lot to be desired. For starters, they’re loaded with sugar and enough caffeine to make you want to grind your teeth into a fine powder even after you’ve had a massive coronary.
And then, well, they all kind of look the same?
While Red Bull hasn’t drastically changed its design formula over the years, the rest of the crowd sports the usual aggressively bold logos, meathead fonts for Fast & Furious true believers (hello, NOS), and the type of neon color palettes that would make Lisa Frank blush. That’s not necessarily bad; we are talking energy drinks here, not nap-time juice. But the design cues for the market are tired and badly in need of a glow-up.
But what if that makeover came in the form of an energy mist?
Pzaz is a zero-calorie, no-sugar, and vegan energy misting spray meant to give you a much-needed boost of caffeine. Just pop off the top of the teensy bottle, stick out your tongue, spray a few times, and boom—instant, micro-dosed energy without the sugar or crash and burn. Available in four flavors—Peach Bomb, Juicy Strawberry, Peppermint Ice, and Sour Apple—every bottle has less caffeine than most energy drinks, shots, or coffees. Add in that each mist delivers a less-than ten-cent shot of caffeine, and you’ve got a viable energy delivery system (with a full bottle setting you back an easy five bucks).
Of course, energy sprays aren’t exactly new. But if these products gain traction, they could potentially eat into the massive $86.35 billion market share energy drinks have taken up. “??I wanted to reimagine the energy sector because not a single existing brand or product spoke to me,” says Jonah Reider, Pzaz founder. “I have worked in food and beverage consumer goods and hospitality for years. I had literally never had an energy shot or drink before I started working on Pzaz even though I consumed caffeine daily.”
Jonah quickly became obsessed with trying to imagine his own portable, delicious energy product. He also found plenty of outdated, macho branding (hello, Monster) or fancy, overpriced, and “blanded” DTC offerings with very little to offer. “While I do shop on online marketplaces, I’ve never bought a food or beverage product direct-to-consumer,” Jonah says. “Almost all of my food, beverage, snack, and supplement consumption happens impulsively at convenience stores. So I wanted to reimagine this category thinking specifically about how to revitalize form factor, brand, and sales channels.”
He also wanted to create something that could be a superior—and functional—alternative to energy drinks that was portable and shareable. He found inspiration in widely-adopted, fun cultural moments, looking to products of the past like Warheads Sour Spray, Listerine, and diehard classic Binaca Blast. “Gum, mints, and bars are cool, but the fun and shareability weren't there—the usage of those products tends to be private, personal, and discrete,” he says. “A caffeinated breath spray is just perfect—it's super conspicuous and shareable. It's fun and a little messy.”
In trying to shake up the energy market, Jonah found designer Zipeng Zhu of Dazzle Studio through a mutual friend on Instagram during the height of the pandemic in 2020. The pairing is the perfect meet-cute, not only because Zipeng is a “certifiably zazzy designer,” according to Jonah, but because he embodied the fun, colorful, and maximalist vibes of the brand Jonash wanted to bring to life.
“The mission for Pzaz is to spread positive energy, and we want the design to do that and only that,” says Zipeng. “We want to create a design system that's playfully energetic yet clean and beautiful—nothing like the rest of the energy market. Our logo is chunky yet refined, retro but fresh at the same time. Using bold, slick typography with a bright and saturated background color, the combination sparks huge contrast. Just like the bold flavors themselves.”
Indeed, the bottles pop off the shelf with a seemingly 90s skateboard brand aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place on a party flyer or next to the cash register at a 7-Eleven.
According to Zipeng, what was missing from the energy category was something we don’t really associate with these beverages—taste. “Everything in the ‘energy product’ category is so ugly, at least to me,” adds Zipeng. “It's almost all too much. All the products are so intense that it's going to make you explode. That's why Pzaz is here, to provide a solution to be energized tastefully in a manageable fashion.”
While no one in these parts would predict the imminent death of energy drinks, Pzaz is still a welcome addition to the Red Bull and Monster-dominated world of caffeinated beverages. And if you can do it for a generation of consumers hungry for the next Binaca, well, you might have something on your hands.
Or a tongue, in this case.
Pzaz is available now at select retailers or through a subscription-based system online.
Images courtesy of Pzaz.