A New Look for Fresca

Coca-Cola approached Duffy & Partners in 2004 with a growing concern. Many consumers across all lifestyles and demographics had begun to walk away from its core cola franchise – both Coca-Cola and Diet Coke – and were increasingly choosing non-cola diet beverages, such as Diet Rite fruit flavored offerings and other fruit-based drinks.

In order to stem this share erosion and offer consumers a fresh alternative, Coca-Cola chose to revitalize an existing brand rather than introduce a new one. In this case, they turned to the venerable Fresca – thirty-nine years old, quite neglected and taken for granted within the Coca-Cola brand portfolio.

Coca-Cola also wanted Fresca to claim a new positioning: one of a more “sophisticated soda” targeted to active adults. Fresca’s original formula product intrinsics were spot on for consumer trends today: zero calorie, zero carbs and a uniquely effervescent citrus flavor. Plans were also developed to line extend the brands into new flavors if consumers indicated enough interest in the revitalized brand.

To win in the marketplace, we knew we needed to do something dramatic. Only 3% of consumers mentioned Fresca in unaided brand awareness testing. In qualitative research, we learned that young adult consumers thought of Fresca as “my grandmother’s brand.” Others thought it was no longer in the marketplace. Still others felt is was a full-calorie soda.  

Confusion abound – even among the small but loyal base of current users who tended to be older and more affluent than most soda drinkers. All said it was time for a makeover for Fresca to build a strong connection with a new generation of Adult 25+ consumers of both sexes.

In order to evaluate how to develop a brand revitalization that would get consumers to reappraise Fresca, Duffy & Partners first developed visual positioning collages. In this case, we focused on celebrating both the intrinsics of  Fresca and sophisticated extrinstics of other brands used in an adult lifestyle portfolio. Created by our designers, the resulting collage boards clearly communicated something both sophisticated and crisp – a promise in keeping with the strategic positioning goal for the brand. Focus group research was conducted with the target audience of adult soft drink consumers. Two design directions clearly rose to the top and were fused to form one visual brief for the brand.

Our goal: To design new visual brand language for Fresca that could communicate the unique intrinsics of citrus sparkle yet make an immediate impact on marketplace perceptions.

The next phase was the definition of the “new Fresca.” Preliminary designs incorporating additional intrinsic imagery, colors, photography styles and other graphic approaches were also explored with consumers in focus groups.

The final design captured a much more modern and sophisticated expression of the brand. It featured a proprietary new brand icon and brand identity as well as new packaging and an overall visual identity system including architecture for the three flavor ‘sub brands’.

The final system was designed to be applied to every consumer touch point. Consumer reaction to the new brand presentation suggested they would look at Fresca in a whole new light. Some consumer reactions from focus groups included these comments:

“More hip…’you’re drinking Fresca’…that’s cool.”
“I feel better about serving that at a party.”
“New, modern, sleek – you’d want to have it in  your refrigerator.”

In addition to qualitative feedback, the new Fresca brand presentation was tested in several rounds of quantitative research. Consumer feedback comparing the new brand presentation to previous packaging indicated the new brand language elevated the perceptions of the brand on several key image, taste and usage attributes, as well as overall opinion and purchase intent.

The brand language was then applied to a myriad of applications including secondary packaging, vending, point of sale, merchandise, advertising, environments, events and promotional marketing.

The Fresca revitalization was quickly rewarded in the marketplace with consumer interest resulting in renewed sales momentum. Importantly the new flavors boosted portfolio sales, bringing new users into the fold.



1. New Packaging Designs

2. "Sophistication" visual positioning collage board

3. "Crisp" visual positioning collage board

4. Logotype

5. Can designs for 3 flavors

6. 12-pack packaging design 

7-8. Advertising created by Venables, Bell & Partners, advertising agency.

9-10. Illustrative example of applying visual brand language to a variety of applications.

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