Lipton case study : Exploring natural and freshness in cold beverages

26 Nov 2012|Ben Wood

Lipton Iced Tea, a fairly recent Unilever/Pepsico joint venture (PLI), challenged us to help them innovate in the iced tea category and reinforce their “Drink Better Live Better” vision.

Not an easy task. The markets PLI were interested in are highly divergent in terms of iced tea maturity and needs: from Japan, where green tea is drunk unsweetened and bigger than cola, to Europe where iced tea is a barely disguised soft drink, to the Middle East where iced tea does not exist and is seen as hot tea gone cold.

Our first challenge was to explore what “natural” and “freshness” means today around the world. The team used semiotics and cultural insight to look at natural goodness beverages in the most progressive markets around the world (Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, UK). This helped us understand the different codes and signifiers of the category, and identify the most emergent ones. This insight could be used as a springboard to generate new product ideas for Lipton.

We also created a global digital community to explore emergent expressions of freshness and naturalness. Using AV-idTM, our digital platform, we sourced a group of influential trendsetting people in New-York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Mexico City, Moscow, Paris, London, Bangkok, Mumbai and Sao Paolo. Part trendscouts, part creative resource, we asked them help us co-create new ideas for iced tea.

Their first task was to check out the latest natural goodness products in their city and hunt out the expressions of freshness and naturalness that they thought were different and new. We also asked them to do a video-pitch of their ultimate healthy beverage concoction.

One big theme that emerged was the desire for a shot of green goodness in the exciting and chaotic urban jungle. We worked with the community flesh out concepts around this idea. With the help of designers we then brought each concept to life with the target consumer.

And the result? One of the nature/urban fusion concepts was developed into ‘Nature’s Green’: a delicious new range of fresh brew iced teas, launched in one of Lipton’s biggest RTD markets, Russia, in June 2011.

How did we add value?
We used cultural insight and semiotic tools to decode the future of natural refreshment. We engaged a community of influencers to co-create a range of new innovation concepts. And we provided Lipton with a clear innovation strategy and breakthrough ideas  to drive category leadership across priority regions, both in the short and midterm.

Written by Ben Wood, Innovation Director.

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