Bai Brands ditches quirky past to focus on more mature future
- Bai Brands is moving beyond its tagline “none of this makes sense” — a reference to how the five-calorie antioxidant drink could still taste good — to present a more mature, inspirational image, according to The New York Times.
- Bai won over Super Bowl ad viewers with its play on boy band ‘NSync’s hit single “Bye Bye Bye” in an “irreverent” commercial starring former front man and Bai investor Justin Timberlake and actor Christopher Walken. Market researchers reportedly cited an increase in the innovative drink’s brand awareness and a spike in the hashtag #BaiBaiBai as a result.
- The brand is now transitioning to focus on the drink’s healthy image with inspirational messaging. “We are a mature-enough brand to start talking about our philosophy as opposed to our product,” chief creative officer Chad Portas told The New York Times. “For the past few years we’ve always focused on, ‘This is what we make.’ Then, we can tell them this is why we make it.”
Bai is working to “grow up” the brand, which could prove to be a risky move. The flavored water maker could lose the hipness that made it cool in the first place. It also could alienate customers who supported the quirky alternative beverage brand as an innovative startup. But transitioning the brand toward a more “mature” image shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
Just five months after acquiring Bai, Dr. Pepper Snapple replaced founder Ben Weiss with a company insider. Without Weiss, some speculated Bai may no longer have the creative vision that made it successful in the first place. The fact that Dr Pepper replaced him with a ten-year veteran from within signaled that executives were seeking a change in direction. A shift away from hip and quirky toward health and wellness could be one part of that initiative.
Bai’s successful Super Bowl ad did wonders to boost brand awareness and fundamentally turn Bai into a household name overnight. Now that the company and brand name is out there and known by most consumers, the drink maker is looking to take its messaging to the next level. “We’re trying to really think about our personality. We have a funny, irreverent, silly personality, but we also have a serious side,” Portas told The New York Times. Apparently, Dr Pepper thinks now’s the right time for that serious side to take hold.
The company intends to present a more mature side of Bai to help consumers understand what the brand stands for, its philosophy and the health benefits of its good-for-you ingredients. The timing probably couldn’t be better as health and wellness takes shape as a major issue when grocery shopping.
The beverage category, in particular, has been drastically altered as Americans reduce their sugar intake. A growing number of consumers are turning away from sugary soft-drinks, seeking alternatives that are low in calories and high in nutritional value. Low-calorie antioxidant Bai, sweetened with stevia extract, fits the bill perfectly. So Bai choosing to spread the word about its nutritional benefits and corporate responsibility initiatives could be a smart move.
When Dr Pepper Snapple bought Bai for $1.7 billion last November, some analysts thought the purchase price was too high. Now the beverage conglomerate is set to prove the naysayers wrong. During its most recent earnings call, the drink maker said the biggest gains during the quarter came from Bai, with sales increasing 80% following the acquisition. Dr Pepper Snapple hopes its new messaging will foster further gains in its new core holding.
- The New York Times A Quirky Flavored-Water Brand Tries to Grow Up
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