Packaging rebrand for Firefly soft drinks
Buoyed by the popularity of health-driven and money-saving initiatives such as Dry January and Go Sober for October, soft drinks marketed toward the 18+ category have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years.
No longer are adult soft drinks the preserve of a clutch of global fizzy drinks brands lamented for their sugar and caffeine content; grassroots brands have begun to take over the aisles in supermarkets on a global scale. And now the addition of extra ingredients such as botanicals, tonics and superfoods lend the category a new world of flavour and design opportunities.
For UK-based soft drink brand Firefly, creating an identity strong enough to compete with other soft drinks brands and increasingly innovative alcoholic beverages relied on a unique proposition, and a unique approach to branding. To that end, London-based graphic designers B&B Studio, the agency behind Firefly’s iconic line-drawn logo, has updated the brand’s visual identity and packaging, based on a strapline ‘Revitalising botanical drinks.’ And, perhaps unusually, B&B Studio drew its initial inspiration from ‘Superfly,’ a limited-edition project it carried out with Firefly, in collaboration with mixologist Mr Lyan, in mid-2017.
Last April, B&B Studio based the bespoke packaging on the drinks’ natural elements, negating use of a singular logo in favour of a packaging wrap led by botanical illustration. This approach, says Shaun Bowen, creative partner at B&B studio, allowed B&B Studio to understand Firefly’s category and competition before launching a full packaging rebrand. “Limited edition bottles can enable a brand to explore new frontiers and test the water with its consumers before embarking on a wider rebrand,” says Bowen, “Particularly when the new designs are a departure from a look and feel that has been around for a long time.”
And for Bowen and B&B Studio, the botanical and nature-led elements of Superfly resonated well with Firefly’s regular customer base. Well enough, in fact, that disrupting the identity Firefly has led with since 2003 through illustrative patterns and illusions to organic ingredients seemed the natural next step. “The beautifully detailed illustrations on the limited edition Superfly bottles resonated well with consumers, telling the story of the brand with little-to-no supporting text and capturing the natural goodness of each botanical blend in bold visual depictions,” says Bowen.
He continues, “For the wider range we followed a similar approach by introducing a series of bold artworks from old books, reflecting the powerful natural qualities and strength of flavour in each bottle, and introduced a new, more grown-up design language demonstrating the many ways that Firefly can be mixed and enjoyed.”
While widening the choice for those choosing a soft drink, Firefly’s use of natural flavours and heritage-driven production process also cements its place in a category often characterised by ubiquitous, Americanised fizzy drinks. Sarah Brooks, head of marketing for Firefly Drinks, says, “From day one the Firefly brand has been defined by its commitment to using only natural extracts with no refined sugars or artificial ingredients. B&B studio has created a new identity that clearly demonstrates the strength of our ingredients in a beautiful and inspiring way, with bold visuals and an eye-catching colour palette that sets up apart from competitors in the increasing busy adult soft drinks category.”
Packaged in 330ml glass bottles, the Firefly brand has always been characterised through its sophisticated yet disruptive approach to soft drinks. While its photography-led imagery and bold, singular colour palette of corals, greens and yellows might be missed by some, for others the work done by B&B Studio truly cements Firefly as a category leader unafraid to display its natural, British credentials.
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