Combined into a 220-page full-color Paperback or PDF: All 11 reports, including this one, have been updated with new observations, image galleries, brand and keyword indexes.
You can still read the original reports here online FREE, but these reports do not include the updates.
Featured in this report:
01 - Overview
Our observations include some of the brands and categories shown above.
02 - Environment
Energy drinks are primarily sold in cold cases, one at a time, alongside other
"grab-n-go" beverages like Gatorade, sodas, and bottled water. A few brands
can be found warm on national supermarket shelves, but you might have to
travel to a nutritional supply store such as GNC to find them in bulk.
03 - Structure
The quintessential 6.3 FL oz. container used by Red Bull is by far the most
common product form in the category. A few brands sell in oversized 16 oz.
cans (Monster Energy) or use structural gimmicks (Extreme Energy "Shot") to
stand out from the crowded 6.3 FL oz. space.
There are reasons why the 6.3 oz. can is so popular with energy drinks.
easy to grab, quick to drink down, more of them fit on a rack, and the smaller
scale gives the impression that the contents are more concentrated.
That said, subtle variations (short of gimmickry) in form - an hour glass shape,
for example - might be an appropriate way to gain some distance from the
field while retaining the benefits mentioned above.
04 - Color
Red Bull owns red/blue/silver, while others rely on a combination of acidic
greens and yellows, black, and the aluminum finish of the can to convey a
sense of energy and high performance.
The green/black areas of the category are pretty well spoken for. There
appears to be more opportunity for differentiation on the red side of the
spectrum, a curiously obvious choice for "active" or "dangerous" metaphors.
05 - Parental Branding
Many brands in the category rely on the recognition of a parent brand for
some level of legitimacy. Amp is marketed as a Mountain Dew product when,
in fact, Mountain Dew is a Pepsi Co. brand. Associating Amp with Mountain
Dew rather than Pepsi Cola may help reach a more active or "alternative"
Making the link with a parent brand can lend a level of credibility to a new or
unfamiliar product and help bring a targeted group of like-minded consumers
into the fold. Be certain the child brand shares a similar visual language as its
parent to avoid confusing the very consumer you're trying to leverage.
06 - Hyperculture
Energy drinks are not for your grandparents. Rather, they're often geared
towards a thrill-craved, hyperactive youth culture whose primary mission is to
"get their rocks" off legally (see Monster Energy target consumer, left).
While the majority of energy drinks sport youthful (teenage) graphics and
visual themes, an opportunity exists to reach a wider group of consumers
wanting an alternative to coffee. Red Bull is one such brand that we feel does
a good job of visually appealing to a more broad demographic.
07 - Autoshop Influence
Intentional or not, there are distinct similarities between energy drinks and
auto shop products.
When borrowing the design vernacular from a different category, don't forget
that people ultimately have to want to drink the product. Elements Energy
drink (right) does a nice job of towing the line between a high performance
"fuel additive" approach and flavor appeal.
08 - Monsters & Aliens
Monsters, aliens, spacecraft, and evil beasts are recurring themes in the
energy drink category. Monsters have long been the figment of an active
imagination. Throughout history, they have served as symbols for the outsider,
feared for being different and challenging the status quo.
The "monster" angle can be a powerful tie-in with a counterculture
demographic. Though Monster Energy brand (left) gets kudos for boldness
and clarity, we think there is ample opportunity for richly different and
imaginative conceptions of monsters.
09 - Other Dangerous Things
Raging bulls, unnaturally red crocodiles, man-eating fish, rattlesnakes, poisonous venom, acidic fire baths, and rockets portend life threatening danger, high anxiety, and unnerving intersections with pain.
The drink cooler is a crowded place. Alternatives are just a few inches away.
The trick is to appeal to the "thrill jockey" inside the consumer without scaring
them to a less threatening alternative. Again, Red Bull does well in towing the
line between attraction and repulsion.
10 - Resemblance: AA Bateries
KMX and Blast energy drinks and AA batteries. How do you say portable
Every consumer carries a range of experiences with them when they
encounter your product. A series of visual cues, carefully planned, can trigger
associations with other products that express similar ideas.
11 - Resemblance: Skateboards
Jones Energy drink and a skateboard. If you ride the deck on the right, what
would you drink? So would we.
An effective way to appeal to your target consumer is to borrow the visual
vocabulary from a product they may already be familiar with. Of course,
it's important not to infringe on another brand's trade dress or copyrighted
artworks in the process.
12 - Flavor is a Mystery
Flavor is a mystery in many brands. Compared to a typical juice offering, there
is little or nothing about energy drink packaging to tell the consumer what the
product tastes like. Instead, the graphic emphasis is more on the consumer's
sensibilities and attitude than flavor or thirst.
Even a modest effort to describe or symbolize flavor can go a long way to
attracting new or tentative consumers. It would also open up the possibility of
expanding the line with multiple flavors to meet different tastes, even different
consumers and "attitudes" altogether.
13 - Point of Sale Displays
Red Bull is front and center when it comes to unique POS displays. They not
only offer their product in convenient kiosks stacked with 4 packs, but they
also provide well branded coolers for individual sale right at the register or by
the front door.
If you want to stand apart from the crowd, then sometimes the best solution
is to literally stand apart from it. There is no competition inside the Red Bull
standing cooler. And the consumer doesn't have to walk up to the ice box to
find the product. They can see it all the way from the parking lot.
Power Drinks, Energy Drinks, Beverage Category, Enhanced, Performance, Sports, AMP, Arizona Tea, Blast, Burn, Elements, Extreme Energy Shot, Go Fast, Hyper, Impulse, Jones, KMX, Mad-Crock, Monster Energy, Mountain Dew, Piranha, Red Bull, Shredder, Skaterade, SoBe, Stacker 2, Starbucks, Tunnel, Venom