HOIST® Six-Pack Packaging

Client

HOIST® Hydration Beverage (Isotonic Drink Category)

Services Used

Techniques Used

Location

Cincinnati

Awards

Graphic Media Alliance

Print Excellence Award

Gold, People’s Choice

The Challenge

Cincinnati-based HOIST® is classified as an isotonic beverage, a category that has it competing against Pepsi’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. Marketed as “IV-level hydration” that works much faster than the aforementioned competitors, HOIST is the result of a perfect ratio of carbohydrates, electrolytes and water, enabling it to be absorbed immediately from the digestive system into the human bloodstream.

Hoist Facility

The Approach

HOIST had been strategic about not growing too big too fast, even going so far as to turn down an initial offer from Walmart (which they later accepted) in order to plan and properly control distribution. After meeting with them to understand their strategic objectives, their philosophies for growth, their model for distribution and what their brand stood for, the next step for Graphic Village was to then propose how to bring their vision to life on the shelf, while estimating the greatest impact possible through their focused budget.

The Outcome

According to Taryn Lawson, HOIST’s director of marketing, “The exciting thing about having a box as opposed to the initial shrink-wrap tray concept is that we have so much more real estate to tell our story and message.” Executed with the right combination of teamwork, techniques and finishing transformed HOIST’s creative ideas into impactful results – exuding characteristics of a premium product which now justifies its premium price.

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The Challenge

Cincinnati-based HOIST® is classified as an isotonic beverage, a category that has it competing against Pepsi’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. Marketed as “IV-level hydration” that works much faster than the aforementioned competitors, HOIST is the result of a perfect ratio of carbohydrates, electrolytes and water, enabling it to be absorbed immediately from the digestive system into the human bloodstream.

After a decade in development, HOIST saw sales triple in 2022. Much of the driving force behind that growth was due in part to a deal HOIST made with the military – becoming one of three authorized electrolyte providers to the U.S. military services. As a local Cincinnati company, the hydration drink-maker also sells its products to about 20 high schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. Remaining sales come from retail partnerships in about 25 states.

What started as a happenstance meeting in a coffee shop between John Baele of LINC Systems, a packaging supply provider, and Ben Schmidt, vice president of sales at HOIST, combined with COVID-19 retail ramifications, a partnership evolved to form a successful six-pack packaging relationship between HOIST, LINC and Graphic Village.

During the period of the pandemic – and much like with toilet paper – large retailers found their sports drink shelves had been cleared out, forcing isotonic heavyweights like Gatorade to keep up with inventory demand issues, while concurrently opening a door of opportunity for HOIST. With opportunities to now compete in the category opening up, and having just recently gone through a rebrand process, a new marketing strategy and new bottle design, HOIST found the stars aligning for them, and reached out to John Baele at LINC Systems. Baele, who had a relationship with Graphic Village, quickly contacted us regarding development ideas for our new beverage client.

According to data from Nielsen, more than 85 percent of newly-launched CPG products are off the shelf within two years. The challenge for Graphic Village was to then help HOIST become a better CPG player. Concepting packaging ideas that optimized product visibility as a means to enhance customer engagement on the shelf and present a premium piece became our immediate mission.

The Approach

HOIST had been strategic about not growing too big too fast, even going so far as to turn down an initial offer from Walmart (which they later accepted) in order to plan and properly control distribution. After meeting with them to understand their strategic objectives, their philosophies for growth, their model for distribution and what their brand stood for, the next step for Graphic Village was to then propose how to bring their vision to life on the shelf, while estimating the greatest impact possible through their focused budget.

What initially began as a multi-pack concept with a shrink-wrapped corrugate substrate tray, purposefully and methodically evolved over several months in 2022. Clearly, success at the shelf and the means to grow market share was to be dependent on proper in-store packaging execution. With so much at stake, and every sale being valuable, considerations posed to both the HOIST and GV teams involved how to expertly elevate in-store visibility in order to drive awareness, while also efficiently controlling production costs. Eventually, the idea of a fiberboard box became a consideration, and various mock ups and substrates were explored. Wet-strength SUS board eventually became the substrate of choice.

Once a final box and die was decided upon, HOIST delivered the concept and die layout to Salt Lake City-based branding agency, RIOT, for further package development. After a short period of design ideation and refinement, RIOT’s approved brand-right design work was returned to the GV team for final output and production.

The Outcome

According to Taryn Lawson, HOIST’s director of marketing, “The exciting thing about having a box as opposed to the initial shrink-wrap tray concept is that we have so much more real estate to tell our story and message.” Executed with the right combination of teamwork, techniques and finishing transformed HOIST’s creative ideas into impactful results – exuding characteristics of a premium product which now justifies its premium price. Lawson further adds, “The formulation of our product, which has the efficacy of Pedialyte®, is far different from what you find in an isotonic like Gatorade; and the added real estate of the premium box allows us to better showcase our brand and convey why we’re superior.” With enhanced packaging and retail shelf availability, HOIST’s collaboration with Graphic Village paid off. Now available in about 4,000 to 5,000 stores around the country, they count Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Publix, Weis Markets, Menard’s and various c-store outlets as retail partners.

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