Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The world is in crisis.
Everywhere you look, there are protests, riots and scandals.
At some point, it’s worth asking the question: What do people really want?
I’m here to answer that question for you. In the company of Coca-Cola.
You see, the vast beverage concern just announced its biggest product launch in a decade.
It’s called AHA.
With a name like that, you’d imagine that this is a truly revolutionary product that will alter your life, as it brings meaning and vitality to your every breath.
As the largest and fastest-growing part of the water business, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double-down on. AHA is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.
Aha, so it’s a mainstream product. OK.
What, though, was the consumer crying out for with these new flavored waters?
For that’s what AHA is. Flavored fizzy water in eight soul-enhancing flavors.
Well, let’s turn to Julie Siwemuke, Coke’s sparkling water director.
(She’s the director for sparkling water, not the sparkling director of water. Though perhaps she may also be the sparkling director of sparkling water.)
There are unmet needs for consumers in the category today, both for those who don’t drink sparkling water regularly today and for those who do.
I confess I don’t drink sparkling water, while my wife adores it.
Have I, though, experienced unmet needs in this area? I have not.
I have remained still in my needs.
I asked my wife whether she has unmet needs. She replied that she’s unaware of any, but perhaps it needs more research. (She’s a scientist.)
Siwemuke is undeterred in her cajoling:
When shoppers browse the sparkling water aisle, they’re looking for interesting and approachable flavors that offer a refreshing treat. They’re also drawn to fun, colorful brands with personality.
Well, I never. Is that what sparkling water shoppers want?
They seem like a demanding bunch. Wasn’t LaCroix good enough for them?
No, it wasn’t. Apparently.
Moreover, Coke’s retailing partners don’t want any more uninteresting, unapproachable, colorless, personality-free water brands.
As Siwemuke explained:
Our partners told us, ‘We don’t need yet another lime- or berry-flavored sparkling water. We need something fresh and new that can help grow the category.’
I have a feeling what they actually said was:
We need to make more money.
So what did Coca-Cola come up with? Please grip firmly onto something very stable.
For I’m here to tell you that AHA doesn’t offer another lime-flavored sparkling water.
It offers lime-and-watermelon sparkling water.
It doesn’t offer another berry-flavored sparkling water.
It offers blueberry-and-pomegranate.
You’re palpitating, aren’t you?
“How many years of product development might it have taken to reach this nirvana?,” you cry. (Many, I imagine.)
Let’s try and further enhance your excitement.
AHA, which arrives in March next year, will come in a total of eight flavors.
They include Citrus + Green Tea and Black Cherry + Coffee.
These two revolutionary drinks may be dangerous to your state of excited mind.
They will, you see, enjoy 30 mg of caffeine.
Will AHA change your world? Will you now bathe in a new approachable existence, full of personality and vitality?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.