–NEW MARKET INTRODUCTION–
Kvas is the drink you didn't know you needed.
CHALLENGE: OKOVO (oh-ko-vo) is a foreign soda brand that's expanding internationally. Yet there's a movement away from typical unhealthy soda and towards carbonated waters and fermented tonics. Thankfully, their product – kvas (kah-vahss) – tastes like soda and it's healthier. This product would be perfect in America – but how can we convince people to try a new product they've never heard of?
INSIGHT: A new habit is easy to form if it's based around old habits. We're not telling soda drinkers to stop drinking soda. We're offering a healthier replacement that tastes the same – like HaloTop proved ice cream can taste amazing while being better for you. OKOVO can capture this middle-ground between La Croix-drinking diehards and high-end health nuts.
STRATEGY: Leverage OKOVO's new market position to claim an underdog mentality. In a culture that values radical honesty and grassroots movements, OKOVO can come out swinging big at Big Soda, defining itself as better tasting and better for you.
What the frick is OKOVO?
Ochakovsky is a Russian beverage brand that produces Russia's national drink – kvas. Kvas is a super interesting drink: It's brewed like beer, healthy like kombucha and tastes like soda. Why not bring such a special soda over to the U.S.?
First, we asked over 200 people through a quick online survey what they thought about Russia. We found that nobody thinks poorly of the Russian people or Russian products. They only think poorly of the Russian government and its leadership - duh.
From this, we changed Ochakovsky to OKOVO (so Americans could pronounce the brand easier) and we sought out a space where kvas could thrive in the American beverage market.
Kvas is so unique – could it create its own category?
There's unhealthy soda. There's healthy tonics. Kvas sits between both – a whitespace opportunity that we got super excited about. Our team helped OKOVO bring kvas to America to be a healthier soda, a tastier tonic, a new drink to try for yourself.
Kvas is so popular it's served out of trucks in the summer (like ice cream in America).
"I like soda, but I would switch in a heartbeat. I just haven't found something that tastes as good."
Joe B., Interviewee
A new habit is easy to form if it's based around old habits.
Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit, tells us that creating new habits is extremely hard. Soda drinkers have been drinking soda for so long that it's habit. But here's what we're doing with this brand. We're not telling soda drinkers to stop drinking soda. We're offering a healthier replacement that tastes the same – like HaloTop proved ice cream can taste amazing while being better for you. OKOVO can capture this middle-ground between La Croix-drinking diehards and high-end health nuts.
Who would try this new drink?
"Switchable Soda Drinkers" – They drink soda pretty regularly. They've tried La Croix, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Kombucha, but they're just not sold. They want to switch to something healthier, but nothing they've tried tastes good enough.
"This [kvas] tastes so familiar! I'm surprised how much I like it."
Whitney D., Focus group attendee
First things first, let's get people to try kvas.
Once people try kvas, they're interested! They're surprised! They enjoy it! Awesome, that's what we were hoping for.
Now, let's create some intrigue into the new product so people will try it. Let's leverage OKOVO's new market position to claim an underdog mentality. In a culture that values radical honesty, grassroots movements and a good underdog, OKOVO can swing big at Big Soda, defining itself as better tasting and better for you.
OKOVO won't hold punches.
As OKOVO launches in the U.S., the brand's communications campaign will be split into two phases, each with their own objectives. With the first phase, Expose Big Soda, our communications will be aimed at getting people to question what Big Soda companies don't want you to know. For this phase, we drew inspiration from the TRUTH campaign around tobacco. For the second phase, Experience Better, our communications will inspire our audience to try kvas. For the entirety of OKOVO's campaign, we will use the tagline "Cut the crap."
New market. New identity.
For OKOVO's new branding, we focused on strong lines and bold lettering to pay homage to our Russian heritage while making the brand feel modern and even brash. This tone is further communicated in our tagline, "Cut the crap," and its visual design.
A hidden message.
For the first phase of our campaign, our team designed propaganda-like posters that hint at a secret phrase. The secret phrase is 5 letters, all red within the body copy. People will use the QR code, bringing them to our branded microsite. They will type in the 5 red letters – O K O V O – thereby unlocking the special event details.
Special swag. Secret event.
Through our partnership with Shepard Fairey (the Obama "Hope" poster artist), we will release street art as an incentive to attend our pop-up shop / speakeasy in 3 major cities – Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Chicago. Social media will be used to promote the event and the artist partnership.
From the underground to the mainstream.
After the pop-up shop/speakeasy, our microsite will become a fully-realized website releasing the drink, describing its ingredients, health benefits and history. Social posts and Spotify radio ads will follow the event to continue the campaign.
OKOVO succeeds as more people question Big Soda.
OKOVO stands by its promise of bringing a better soda to America. With this direction, OKOVO can create intrigue for an unheard of product and find success in a crowded category. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are Goliaths. OKOVO is ready with its slingshot.
We screen-printed shirts for our team and for our professors (because who doesn't like a brown-nosing team?) The shirts were so popular with our classmates, other professors and Brandcenter alumni that we were asked to make more shirts! We took orders, printed shirts and made a profit. Proof we can turn anything into a side hustle.
ST Afia Boakye – inventive and wise, brought an unprecedented level of cultural knowledge
CBM Morgan Garber – inspirational and driven, motivated the team through tough challenges
CBM Vanessa Brown – keen and easy-going, discovered amazing insights within the company and its competition
XD Aaron Wachsstock – strategic with a design focus, made the experience honor strategic findings
CW Tony Jorgenson – hilarious and quick-witted, made concepting a breeze
AD GL Richardson – capable and intelligent, keeps an instinct for elegant solutions