The 'Impossible' Engineering of Fanta's New Twisted Bottle

Fanta remains the most popular Coca-Cola beverage after Coke itself. The brand's fresh redesign looks to change the bottling game.
Shelby Rogers

No, you're not looking sideways. Fanta recently debuted an off-kilter, twisted bottle for its signature orange soda. For many people, it's just a new carrier for a favorite drink soon to be discarded and recycled. However, a lot of design groups are heralding the innovative look as fresh and clean.

The 'Impossible' Engineering of Fanta's New Twisted Bottle

[Image Source: The Coca-Cola Company]

The plastic bottles of soda you consume are more complex than most understand. With a name like Fanta, the pressure is even higher. It's the Coca-Cola Company's second largest brand after Coke itself. That popularity created a culture of familiarity with Fanta's look. The logo has undergone a handful of changes, but the bottles have stayed relatively the same -- until now. Gregory Bently and Leyton Hardwick were the two responsible for the asymmetrical redesign.

The Making of the new Fanta bottle

"The process of designing a bottle like this is very, very restrictive. We have multi-million-pound bottling production lines to think about. You’re working within a pre-agreed tube shape – if you pull capacity from one point, you need to add it in to another. You can’t take it out, without adding it in elsewhere," Bentley, packaging innovator at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said. "And of course, with a carbonated drink, the bottle has to be symmetrical, or it’ll bend."

Initially, London-based agency DrinkWorks proposed the spiral bottle idea. This would emphasize the "freshly squeezed taste" of the orange drink. However, that suggestion came in 2012. It took Coca-Cola and its team of researchers and designers five years to craft a single bottle. The process involved a surprisingly considerable body of study.

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"How people interact with a product is where we start a project," said Hardwick, creative director with Drink Works, "We got young people in a room, gave them fruit, carving kits, plasticine, play-do, pens, paper, told them to just play – make a mess! Observing people do what comes naturally when they’re thinking of a drink and oranges like this was incredibly insightful."

Those usages then had to compete with the actual physics of design. On average, there's more pressure inside a carbonated plastic bottled beverage than in a car tire. Any sort of deformation can compromise the strength of the plastic and cause the bottle to pop out in weaker spots. Trying to bring the 'twist' to reality would take a lot of effort. The design team also had to compete with a company that needed practical updates for marketing purposes.

"The reality from the start was that we all knew which one we wanted. We all had the same favorite. The problem was, there were just so many layers of people who said it couldn’t work," Bentley said. He continued by explaining that after years of research, the design remained a flop in the eyes of executives.

All of that changed in 2015 when the company's Italian design counterpart Marco Beggoiora reintroduced the twisted design in order to boost sales. According to Coca-Cola, within eight months, that design excelled and consumers enjoyed it.

The new look launched with a new taste as well. The 'fresh' recipe uses a third less sugar than traditional Fanta, all the more fitting for a 'slimmer' bottle.

"As well as a new visual identity, we’ve been working hard to reduce the sugar without compromising on the taste," said Aedamar Howlett, Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Great Britain. "We’re delighted to be launching this new look alongside a new recipe with a third less sugar than before – which consumers have told us tastes better than ever."

These bottles are already being sold in Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland, and Romania. They've been in the UK since April, and they're set to hit a larger global market later this year. No word yet when it will hit the US, India, or other countries.

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