Brand of the Year


As news of an auction for the company swirled around the industry throughout the fall, it was already apparent to BevNET that, regardless of result, Bai was the brand of the year.


Starting with a Super Bowl advertisement and large media investment that made the already fast-growing product more recognizable to new consumers, the high-level sales execution that accompanied Bai’s early years has finally been matched on the brand marketing side. The late addition of a star like Justin Timberlake as investor and brand ambassador put the cap on the company’s year-long personality explosion.


On the innovation side, Bai also demonstrated ambition and originality that superseded any deal talk, taking what had been a dedicated non-carb program and filling out varieties in several new categories -- a sparkling water, a revamped bottled water, teas, and finally Bai Black, a promising new line of traditional carbonated drinks with flavors that throw consumers back to the products that built the industry that Bai has worked so furiously to overhaul. These extensions show not just a line of Vitaminwater-like enhanced waters, but a confident master brand platform that should prove to be a potent challenger across the entire store.


Bai’s sales team had long since proven its ability to position the brand successfully in key channels as the company maneuvered its name, its flavors, its SKU mix, calories, and formulation into the best possible combination. This year, the brand took flight, and as we know, that flight terminated with a landing in a very well-feathered nest.