As consumers demand better & healthier options for snacks and drinks, the sparkling water category has exploded. Sparkling water brings people the fun and flavor they crave in a beverage without all of the sugar and calories. But, the design in the space was a bit flat. Long-standing ‘traditional’ players leaned into the premium notion of “still or sparkling?” Suddenly-hip brands like La Croix had just started to tap into the potential for fun with ironic design. But our clients, PepsiCo, wanted a new brand that could create a new conversation about sparkling water.
We set out to win the water wars by designing for a mindset—tapping into something much deeper than a demographic. Instead of targeting ‘millennials,’ we identified an audience called Generation Play. Whether they’re making memes to put a spin on visual and digital culture or expressing their own identities and careers in creative and fluid ways, they believe that 'play is a state of mind.' And their outlook inspired our Active Purpose and our brand character, the playful instigator.
Our name, bubly, personifies the brand character: speaking to both the effervescence of the beverage and our brand’s charming, playful, bubbly personality. Our name could stand out from the traditional players and the hard-to-pronounce newcomers and set a new tone for the category.
We also brought the bubbliness into our flavor naming—giving each flavor (cherrybubly, lemonbubly) its own quirky expression of our personality.
The Visual Design System
The smile starts in our wordmark. But every flavor of bubly also has a smile that subtly hints at the taste—a lemon wedge hidden in the lemonbubly smile, a few seeds serving as strawberrybubly's freckles. Our vibrant palette of colors offer flavor cues too. And the art direction for our photography brings the can to life in everyday situations—a moment in the office, or at home—nodding back to our strategy.
The Verbal Design System
In addition to the visual design system, we created a verbal design system that helped us give our brand character a voice. And helps us bring it to life on the packaging. From the tabs (“oh hi”) to the back of the can (“these sips don’t lie”), we bring out our personality with playful copy.
The ‘playful instigator’ helped us think about not just what we say, but where and how we show up—whether it’s a GIPHY-collaboration or functional benefits on the box (“no calories. no sweeteners. all smiles.”)