Aquafina Introduces Products Targeting Teens

CMO Simon Lowden Says FlavorSplash Fills a Gap in PepsiCo's Portfolio

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There's a beverage for just about everyone these days, and now there's a water brand for teens.

Aquafina FlavorSplash sparkling water
Aquafina FlavorSplash sparkling water

PepsiCo is unveiling an expanded, revamped lineup for its Aquafina FlavorSplash brand, with an eye toward attracting 13-to-19-year-olds to the Aquafina trademark, a billion-dollar brand.

"We haven't done an awful lot with the trademark, aside from pure water," said Simon Lowden, Pepsi Beverages North America chief marketing officer, noting that the sparkling-water category is an intriguing space for the company. "[Sparkling water] is small, but it's one of the fastest-growing categories in [beverages]. Quite a lot of consumers are thinking about this instead of traditional diet [beverages], so this is a space that's really interesting, and one that's set for future growth."

Indeed, according to Beverage Digest, volume for the sparkling-water category is up 16% through mid-June, and the category is expected to reach $1 billion in sales by year's end.

Mr. Lowden also said the new lineup, which includes a sparkling water, drops for adding flavor to beverages and, by early next year, a revamped still water, will fill a gap in the company's beverage portfolio for a "zero-calorie, great-tasting" product targeting a younger demographic. "This will help our schools proposition," Mr. Lowden said. "Aquafina is a great proposition in high schools, and this is a great chance to expand and bring in a more relevant proposition."

Aquafina FlavorSplash Drops
Aquafina FlavorSplash Drops

Graphics for the products were designed under the direction of Mauro Porcini, the chief design officer hired by PepsiCo last year. The candy-colored beverages are accented by similarly colored labels with oversize, casual fonts calling out the flavors' names. There is a kiwi-strawberry flavor called "Color Me Kiwi" and an orange-citrus flavor dubbed "Peelin' Good." The drops have names like "World Peach" for a peach-mango flavor and "Berry On" for a mixed-berry flavor.

Mr. Lowden said the intention is for the beverages to appeal to teens, while qualifying as something moms feel good about buying. "We want to find common ground between what mums want for kids and what kids find appealing," he said. "There's a huge share of voice that kids have in the family."

A "rigorous" six- to 12-month testing process has given the company confidence that the brand will hit its mark, Mr. Lowden added, noting the graphics in particular stand out on the shelf and provide a clear differentiation from competitors.

The launch will be supported by radio and digital ads, as well as point-of-purchase materials and a major sampling effort. When the still-water revamp is introduced next year, a larger media presence will accompany it, Mr. Lowden said. PMK-BNC is handling public relations, while Amplitude is handling experiential marketing. VaynerMedia is the brand's digital agency and Tracy Locke is responsible for in-store executions.

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