Would a package prompt you to spend more for bottled water?
PepsiCo thinks it could.
When it launched its new “premium” bottled water brand, called “LIFEWTR” (the copy editor in me cries when I have to type that) during the Super Bowl, it did so not only by calling attention to its taste — which it says is “pH-balanced with electrolytes” — it did it with textured plastic bottles featuring designs by contemporary artists.
As the Wall Street Journal noted, the packaging is its “most distinctive feature” of “LIFEWTR.” (OK, forget it. I'm calling it Life Water from now on, got it PepsiCo?)
Earlier this month Gary Hemphill, managing director and chief operating officer at consulting company Beverage Marketing Corp., said that bottled water has now topped carbonated soft drinks for the largest beverage category in the U.S.
In 2016, bottled water consumption grew 8.5 percent, while carbonated soft drinks dropped by 1.7 percent.
That means that traditional soft drink companies including PepsiCo are putting more emphasis on bottled water. And not just any bottled water, but premium waters, which offer carry a bigger retail price. In the case of Life Water, that means $2.70 for a 1 liter bottle.
Compare that to a generic store brand of drinking water, which sells for less than $1 per gallon.
PepsiCo already has the lower-priced Aquafina brand water, which market research group Euromonitor says is the No. 2 selling brand in the U.S.
Its chief soft drink competitor, Coca-Cola Co., makes both the Dasani-brand water — No. 1 in the U.S. market, according to Euromonitor — and Smartwater, a more premium brand.
So Life Water gives PepsiCo a premium product, but how to stand out on the store shelves? Packaging.
With its launch, Life Water will feature the work of three artists:
• The street artist known as MOMO, who produces vivid, large-scale murals in public spaces, made with homemade and adapted tools, and seen most notably in Jamaica, Italy and the United States.
• The duo Craig & Karl, who collaborate on “bold work which communicates simple messages in a thoughtful and humorous way.”
• Jason Woodside, with large-scale, color works that have appeared in New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Sydney.
Beyond the shelves, PepsiCo hopes the bottles will be a big draw on social media, and is encouraging people to post photos of themselves with them on various social media platforms.
Those three are just the start. PepsiCo plans to bring in new labels by new artists on a regular basis, to keep the look fresh, and keep drawing in buyers and social media buzz.