Bitterness transforms us: A rebranding case study

The rebranding project
consumer goods


visual identity

Our rebranding expertise in action through human-centered design

"What does it mean to be a grown-up?"

That question represents the first of many conflicts embraced by this project and complex creative challenge, which aimed to reinforce traditional values through a revitalized human centered approach.

Anheuser-Busch soft drink brand for the brazilian market Tonica Antarctica is Brazil’s first tonic water. Launched in 1914, it is an absolute best-selling brand. In spite of long lifespan, it called for a contemporary reinvention to speak closely to young adults. To do so we used our human centered design approach to generate insights that would feed our brand development process including logo, label, and the entire brand repositioning strategy.

During an extensive research process of in-depth interviews and contextual immersion, we spoke to young adults and found out that learning how to taste and appreciate bitterness is the result of a palate development. This is part of a deeper personal movement in which personal interests change as adult life begins, what was a great takeaway for this rebranding case study.

Amidst chasing after dreams and having little time to achieve them, the ambition for independency and eminent responsibilities, the transition to adulthood can be frustrating. 

But for those who remain open to learn and change, a sense of accomplishment can be found in a more genuine (and less painful) way.

So, how to incorporate that message within the packaging design for Tonica?

Enter the our systemic & human centered design approach

Based on this discovery, we came up with a new mission: revealing to young adults through a rebranding process to conveys that tough moments aren’t a source of pain but rather an opportunity for growth and learning

Tonica can inspire people to perceive life as an endless sequence of changes, not of rewards. The idea is synthesized by the tagline “bitterness transforms us”, associating Tonica’s distinctive flavor to this specific cultural tension on people’s lives from a human centered design prospective.

And that was a great innovation in terms of rebranding for Tônica Antarctica, which is a centenary brand, but had never done anything in terms of branding and communication. The idea behind this renewal is to bring forth the brand’s emotional appeal, getting closer to young adults again. 

“Questtono is a very visionary and attentive company that worked with us during the whole process of rebranding, including the new visual identity and touchpoints.” 

-Isa Aniceto, Innovation Manager on Soft Drinks

The results for the rebranding case study

Over a period of 5 months working with Tonica Innovation Team, we analysed the brand and proposed a solution based on all the human centered design insights we have brought up for the rebranding strategy.. 

The strategy provided a ground for us to create a new visual identity, new packaging design and product portfolio. Along the brandbook, we designed an innovation roadmap to support the next steps of brand management for both clients and partners, including activation, communication and experience guidelines.

The improvements on the product, content, packaging, experience, communication, and brandwith a systemic and more human approach to the traditional Tonica Antartica makes this packaging design case very unique.

When integrated, these elements result in a more potent visual that adds even more value to the product and the brand, which we offer to our consumer good clients and we are very honored to have successfully delivered.

How about creating a rebranding case study too?

We can also help your business to thrive with our systemic and human centered design approach to develop impactful solutions. You can count on us as a strategic design partner.

Whether your brand needs to increase its local market share like Ambev beer brands, expand globally to boost sales without losing its identity, or even to redesign its whole consuming experience, the good news is: we can help you.

We are a cross-disciplinary team of designers, engineers, researchers and strategists who identify unique market opportunities based on people needs, and cultural trends with  the ability to design & develop ready-for-market products, services, and experiences. We do this by developing  physical and digital products, brands and services in a systemic and integrated manner.