- PepsiCo's Lifewtr brand has introduced its seventh design series, championing "Art Through Technology." The premium water company said its new bottles focus on the work of three artists and expand on what art means by using "next-generation tools such as coding, data visualization, 3D printing and enhanced reality."
- The latest Lifewtr bottle designs explore the connections between art and technology by visual artist, animator and visual technologist Andrew Benson; artist and educator Zach Lieberman; and multimedia artist Sara Ludy.
- Lifewtr bottles have featured more than 20 artists through six previous design series. The latest products will be included in an expansion into Whole Foods outlets in New England, Florida and California, along with in-store product demos and giveaways. They will be available in four sizes plus multi-packs.
Ever since PepsiCo debuted the premium water brand in February 2017, Lifewtr has been periodically launching new packaging designs. The innovative marketing move was devised to position Lifewtr to appeal to different consumer groups and consumption occasions than the company's Aquafina brand.
Before the brand launched, PepsiCo planned to release new label designs several times a year as a way to enhance Lifewtr's premium positioning and attract millennials who appreciate intriguing bottle designs and labels that reflect a certain image — and also be attractive for sharing on social media, according to Fortune.
With its seventh packaging design, the company is continuing that mission. The new design series reflects cutting-edge technology and its nexus with art. Andrew Benson calls his work "untamed," combining classic painting with digital art. Zach Lieberman uses technology, augmented reality and computer vision in code-based artistic projects. Sara Ludy combines video, sound, animation, virtual reality, websites, audiovisual performance and sculpture to explore space and structure. As the use of AI and customization have become growing packaging trends in recent years, it makes sense that Lifewtr recruited these artists to feature technology through the bottle design.
The company said its latest label designs allow consumers to interact with the art by using a QR code or going to a website. Consumers will be able to "bring bottle art to life and even capture immersive selfies to make images on their own, provided they have the Facebook app installed on their smartphone," it said. No doubt some consumers will take advantage of such an offer, but they will likely be younger ones who are more tech-savvy — the demographic the product is mainly targeting.
PepsiCo said the new designs build on the Lifewtr augmented reality in-room experience that debuted last year at Marriott Hotels, allowing guests to customize hotel rooms through virtual Lifewtr artwork. The brand also has a global partnership with Frieze, which produces modern and contemporary art magazines and sponsors four international art fairs. Lifewtr plans to feature the three artists behind the latest design series at the Frieze New York fair being held in May on Randall's Island.
Packaging can be critical to the success or failure of food and beverage products. According to MeadWestvaco, packaging drives 36% of purchasing decisions — more than TV ads, online reviews and recommendations from friends. One example of success is Nutella, whose 2017 limited-edition campaign in Italy using 7 million different packaging designs — each on an individual jar — sold out within a month.
Lifewtr has successfully positioned itself as more than a premium water brand, but also a "platform for emerging artists," according to Beverage Daily. IRI figures reported by Beverage Daily put sales from February to December 2017 at nearly 85 million units, for a total of $148.6 million from all U.S. outlets.
Despite the creative packaging and artistic support, Lifewtr still comes in plastic bottles, a waste-creating challenge proving difficult for companies that want to enhance both sustainability and consumer appeal. While these new designs could catch consumers' eyes, future series of the bottles might want to look to more sustainable designs to stay ahead of the latest trends.