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How ADVANCED Found Winning Package Designs & Beat Out the Competition

ADVANCED, a gaming supplement company, used Upsiide's package testing solutions for their new ready-to-drink (RTD) product.

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Project Summary

  1. The Client

    The client is a producer of gaming supplement products.

  2. The Challenge

    In preparation to launching a new canned RTD product, the client wanted to find the best packaging design for the product.

  3. The Solution

    We worked with the client to test different existing and new packaging design ideas, as well as evaluate how those ideas compare to those of competitors.

  4. The Impact

    The client discovered winning packaging designs and learned where their new product would stand in the competitive landscape.

“Redbull gives you wings”, “Unleash the beast inside you”, “Party like a rockstar”. Most of us have heard these famous slogans in TV ads or on posters. Usually, these slogans are followed by pictures of young people doing adventure sports, clubbing and, of course, guzzling a brightly coloured can of Red Bull, Monster, or some other kind of energy drink.

The energy drink sector has always been a fast-growing sector. Independent companies like Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar have been long-standing players in it, though industry giants like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Starbucks have jumped on the bandwagon of producing energy drinks for all sorts of audience groups. 

The market has grown so much that new entrants have found a strong-hold in particular niches; one of those niches is esports.

If you haven’t heard of esports, here’s a mental picture: thousands and thousands of people gather around stadiums to watch people play multiplayer organized games and compete to win huge prizes. Esports has grown in popularity so much that it was even considered to be a new Olympics sport.

It’s no wonder that ADVANCED decided to tap into this market. The company was founded by a couple of daytime pros, who simply loved gaming and didn’t like what was happening in the gaming supplement space. 

Richard Ng, Marketing Director at ADVANCED, explains:

When you work in an industry that’s conventionally focused on the youth market, a lot of traditional brands have not done a good job in serving products that are actually good for those people. The industry is full of marketing gimmicks, products with unhealthy ingredients and questionable claims. The founders of ADVANCED wanted to change that; they wanted to create products that actually work as advertised.

That’s how the company came to be. The brand focuses on developing healthy premium energy supplements for gamers which contain clinically-proven ingredients to support people throughout gaming sessions and in their day-to-day.

We sat down with Richard to have him walk through the journey he and his team took with Upsiide: why they approached us, what we did together and what came out of the research. 

Expanding the product line

Having produced gaming supplements in powdered form for a long time, ADVANCED decided to launch a new product line in a different format. A canned ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage was the chosen path.

But even though the company has been using a DTC model up to this point, ADVANCED realized that sending something as heavy as canned drinks would cause a huge spike in their shipping costs. So, the brand decided to turn to other retail partners.

What this meant was that the brand was no longer the only option people saw on the shelves. Their upcoming canned drink would be the target of fierce competition, pitted up against brands like Monster and Red Bull. Their drinks cannot compete on the brand idea alone, they needed to look attractive enough to be picked up on shelf.

And so, ADVANCED decided their drink’s packaging needed to be changed. The company didn’t want to simply slap a version of their existing design on the can and be done with it. They wanted to do it smartly: research their market, understand what customers really love, and tailor their packaging design to those preferences. 

They came to Upsiide for help, and the work began.

Creating a great package design for gamers and beyond

ADVANCED leveraged Upsiide’s Pack Testing Solution developed in-house by Dig Insights specifically to help brands optimize and validate their packaging ideas. Pack Assess helped them find the top performing potential packages out of all their design options and uncover how those options would fare in-market.

What came out of that were 3 actionable insights:

1. Color blocking and hue had a strong impact on people’s choices.

Richard explains:

We took a look at which colors were hitting and which ones weren’t. We discovered that ideas that had some sort of color blocking performed much better than those with one color. After we stepped back, we realized that those color-blocked ideas look much more unique and differentiated than others.

Color blocking wasn’t the only thing that affected the results. The choice of colors and contrast was important to respondents too. Richard and the team realized that shades of yellow, which they used in many mock-ups, were excessively used and weren’t compelling enough to make someone stop and grab their drink. Designs with red and blue elements, on the other hand, performed much better because they created an element of contrast. 

2. Even as a startup, they have a chance to compete with industry giants.

After ADVANCED identified the two best package design ideas, they tested them against industry competitors. Those included both established brands and smaller challenger brands. The exercise was pretty humbling because ADVANCED saw where they stand realistically in the market and who their direct rivals are.

We didn’t land first or last in the test; we were in the middle. But you know what? When you’re a startup in this category, the middle is just fine! Thanks to the Upsiide Scores, we found how we’re doing as a brand, the context and the challenges that we’re going to be facing. We’ll use that information to feed into our marketing and comms so that we can fill in the gaps and come closer to the top in the next test.

3. ADVANCED has opportunities to expand their market.

The profiling questions embedded in the Pack Assess Blueprint revealed that ADVANCED’s proposition is particularly compelling among females, and is considered applicable both for teenagers and for people between 25 and 49. And these results brought Richard and his team confidence.

We’ve always wanted to go beyond the traditional male ‘gamer’ market, which is so saturated with competition. People grow up and change their consumption habits, they no longer want the stuff they ate when they were 16. And we want to continue being their #1 healthy supplement brand over the years. Upsiide showed us that we have an opportunity to tap into other markets, which will be super useful as we’ll start think about product expansion.

Looking into the future

Richard and his team are now equipped with all the information they need to start launching their new ADVANCED drinks. Richard feels confident to carry on with production, all with a new rejigged design and use the results in all his marketing activities. 

Upsiide taught my marketing and design teams to think like researchers. We adopted a smart way of thinking in which we use insights and analytics to support our decisions. This was a true learning experience for us and we can’t wait to work with Upsiide again.

And we can’t wait to see the new ADVANCED drinks on shelves soon!

If you want to follow ADVANCED’s journey and learn more about their products, head over to their website.

Curious about Upsiide? Reach out to our team to find out how your brand can start collecting insights for your next innovation, or check out our suite of pre-made Blueprints.