Take a Squirt

Successful innovation often involves identifying a trend and finding a dramatically different approach.  That’s what Kraft did with MiO Liquid, its new “water enhancer.”  We’ve all been told we need to drink more of the stuff.  But really … uh, boring?  I’ve got to admit, “enhanced” sounds pretty good.  So how, exactly, does MiO Liquid enhance water?  Well, by giving water exactly what most of us really want in it—flavor.

Flavored waters are everywhere these days, often in fancy bottles with high price tags.  Many include cryptic combinations of vitamins, often promising various health or mood-related benefits, like “relaxation,” “concentration” or the completely befuddling “essentials.” But the fact is, what most of us crave is something that tastes reasonably good and is a lot healthier than soda.

Enter MiO, at zero calories, zero carbs, zero sugar and zero … well about everything except artificial sweeteners and flavors.  OK, maybe that’s not the healthiest stuff on the planet, but it’s got to be better than most of the other liquids we consume (and maybe even the water!).   You simply squirt some into your water (glass, bottle, etc.) to get the amount of flavor you want.   And you avoid the expense and environmental impact of special bottles of, essentially, flavored water.

To be fair, this is not a completely new idea.  It seems like a natural evolution from powdered mixes, especially those that come in the convenient sticks.   Plus, Capela has been selling a similar product for years, although it looks more like an iodine bottle.  In contrast, MiO comes in a very cool little package that is convenient to use and store, and with trendy flavors, like Berry Pomegranate and Mango Peach, plus Fruit Punch for the less adventurous, or kids.

Most important—it tastes pretty good.  I’ve served it to a number of friends and family to positive reviews, including the highest compliment: “It tastes like Kool-Aid!”  In fact, that’s a pretty good comparison—a cooler, contemporary and more convenient Kool-Aid without the calories, built on the same heritage positioning: “Kool-Aid.  Kool-Aid.  Tastes great!  Get some.  Get some.  Can’t wait!”

Why we love this innovation:

  1. It rides the trend of increased water consumption, but finds a better way.
  2. It’s beautifully simple and convenient.  Works great home or away, with glasses or bottles.
  3. It delivers.  C’mon, who doesn’t like Kool-Aid more than water?
  4. It takes an existing product idea and makes it better and cooler.  That’s what Apple did with MP3 players.

About Bill Aho

Bill Aho is a partner with The SagePoint Group, hands-on consultants that develop innovative products, services and marketing concepts. Bill has worked in marketing, strategic planning, general management and innovation in Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Darden Restaurants and ClearPlay. He has appeared and been quoted in multiple TV, magazines and newspapers, including Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, MSNBC, BBC, PBS and others.
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