Launched in the mid-80s, Rio set out to offer a natural alternative to fizzy, fruitless soft drinks. In an era of flamboyance and flair, its iconic name captured both the exoticism of its tropical taste and the intrigue of another world at a time where global travel was largely the preserve of the rich and famous.
However, with a visual identity based in the era in which it was conceived, Rio’s look and feel was in danger of becoming dated and kitsch. In the face of evolving consumer tastes, Rio turned to Pearlfisher to dial up its emotional connection with customers and reinvent its desirability.
Pearlfisher Futures conducted a significant piece of market research to uncover consumer contexts, perceptions, motivations and occasions defining Rio’s consumption in the marketplace, which formed the foundation from which Pearlfisher Strategy could define a new direction for the brand.
Yael Alaton, Strategy Director at Pearlfisher, said of the strategic approach: “In considering the role that Rio plays in the life of its consumer — a younger, down-to-earth demographic with a balanced approach to health — we identified an opportunity for Rio to own a “feel-good moment” in a day and defined a set of brand principles inspired by a central strategic vision: ‘Celebrating the Sunny’.”
Poppy Stedman, Design Director at Pearlfisher, said of the final designs, “Inspired by the inherent sense of happiness that Brazil, its people and its culture exude, Rio’s new identity is bright, vibrant and uplifting. To communicate Rio as a ray of ‘sunshine in a can’, we turned the ‘O’ in ‘Rio’ into a sun around which luscious fruits grow and developed a visual language that comes to life across murals, packaging, website and printed and campaign collateral. By unlocking Rio’s latent equities, we’ve harnessed the charisma and positivity that sits at its heart to establish a more aspirational relationship with customers.”
Pearlfisher has also defined a new tone of voice for Rio that comes to life across all the brand’s communications channels, from social media and advertising to PR and customer service.
Rio Brand Manager Danielle Obbard, said of the redesign, “Pearlfisher’s designs champion the quality of Rio’s ingredients of real fruit and lightly sparkling spring water while celebrating the unique vibrancy of its taste and embodying our brand belief of Celebrating the Sunny. The rebrand will allow us to carve out an ownable, distinctive space in a rapidly evolving category.”
The newly designed two variants — Tropical and Tropical Light — will be available UK-wide in cans, as well as bottles, a new format for the brand, at the end of May.
Design Agency: Pearlfisher
Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer: Jonathan Ford
Strategy Director: Yael Alaton
Strategist: Molly Rowan-Hamilton
Design Director: Poppy Stedman
Senior Designer: Lucy Roberts
Designer: Charlie Garrod