1Above switches off flight (drink) mode, rebrands to travel recovery drink

After a major rebrand, 1Above is spreading its wings outside the duty-free zone and aiming to clear up consumer confusion about its functional benefits.  

When you're on a plane, flight mode on your phone switched on, not much can bug you. You're up there, untouchable, until you start to feel dehydrated and, after the flight, potentially jet-lagged. 1Above has been successful in helping travellers combat the effects of flying, but what about the travellers on the ground who may also be feeling a bit dusty?

The CEO of 1Above, Stephen Smith, says the brand has undertaken an “evolutionary brand identity process” and shifted from the sometimes confusing term 'flight drink' to 'travel recovery drink'. And there's new packaging to go with it, too. The new bottles look more like a drink bottle than the originals, which were as streamlined as a glider. It's kept the dark blue colouring but increased the font size, and added extra copy about the drink's benefits as it looks to increase distribution outside of airports, in pharmacy channels in America or Canada, as well as online.

 1Above's old packaging

1Above worked with Jones Knowles Ritchie, a brand agency Smith has previously worked for in London, on the rebrand. Having recently rebranded Budweiser and working with other big international brands they were well positioned to help 1Above clarify its message.

Although the original 1Above airport kiosks have staff who can explain the product, the move into retail environments around the world means the brand must rely on packaging to get information to new consumers. “In the US, particularly, they’re a little more straightforward and they want products to be really clear about what they’re doing and how they’re going to help,” says Smith.

The brand is stopping furrowed brows by making clear statements about the drink’s functional benefits. “A lot of people were a bit puzzled about what it is and what it does. So we're making it much more simple,” says Smith. “So when you pick it up, turn it over and very clearly it’s spelled out what the product is and how it helps.”

  • Check out our earlier interview with CEO Stephen Smith here or listen to the interview below. 

The benefits on the back of 1Above’s package are largely thanks to a natural bark extract called Pycnogenol – a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland has done over 100 studies over 40 years around its functional claims. 

The premium presentation and proven functional benefits laid out on the bottle set 1Above apart from countless other premium water brands they are up against as they venture out of airports. “Whenever you’re launching into some of these bigger markets, you need a point of difference and if you don’t you’re going to really struggle," adds Smith.

1Above has been growing rapidly at around 125 percent, reaching $3 million in revenue annually. Now 1Above has its sights set on being a $12 million business in three years. 

With profit growth and brand recognition comes high expectations. As Smith explains: “Once you build a bit of brand equity and you're building these relationships with customers, there is an expectation that you continue to innovate and so that's what we will be doing over the next 12 months.”