Practices

Strategy & Insight
Packaging
Brand Launch Assets
Partnership Mgmt.

Challenge

To take our deep connections and friendships made with innovators at Empirical and build a strategically disruptive collaboration with the biggest snacks brand in the world—FritoLay.

The partnership's first project would be a Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit. Both brands tasked us with managing the creation of a core look and identity for the collaboration, along with packaging.

When considering Doritos and Empirical, you won't find two brands more diametrically opposed in their respective food and beverage worlds. Doritos is bold, vibrant, and 3-sided, while the world of Empirical feels elevated and matter-of-fact.

Solution

Working alongside the PepsiCo Design & Innovation team, we started by elevating a singular shape that could balance the simplicity that Empirical stands for with Doritos' bold, angular intensity.

The shape? An upsidedown triangle, the foundation of Doritos, that, when flipped, subtly hints at the symbol for water. But it also cohesively anchors the mismatching imbalance between the Empirical and Doritos' logotypes.

On the glass bottle, we leveraged Empirical’s existing silk-screened branding. That became a practical necessity as it also helped us land on a bold sticker application that was flexible, quick to adhere, and could help us apply printing methods that elevate the Doritos branding into a more spirited, crafted world. Plus, printing on the inside of the back label allowed us to flood some bold flavor color into the scene that pops when sitting in your standard, darkened watering hole.

Empirical’s well-known tasting notes graphics appear on the back of the bottle, but instead of the circle one typically finds, we used Doritos' iconic triangle shape. The flavor matrix features fun—but exact— copy, with "bodega," "tongue happiness," and "evolved state" rounding out the three pillars of the beverage, calling out different taste layers like "cheesy nacho tang," "tostada dough," and "Doritos dust free."

With always looking at ways we can round out stories off-pack, the secondary packaging has an aesthetic connected to LTO and gift packaging Empirical previously leveraged—the elevated black box. Inside, consumers can discover printed matter we wrote and designed, a 5-panel fold-out showcasing the backstory, production details, and recipes.

The collaboration marks a rare alliance from a flavor company with the ultimate flavor—Doritos Nacho Cheese, and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of it. Cheers to making a new tasty spin on a Bloody Mary or Margarita!