Tônica Antarctica
Bitterness transforms us.

Tônica Antarctica is Brazil’s first tonic water. Launched in 1914, it is a best-selling brand but, however its long lifespan called for a contemporary reinvention. We challenged ourselves to design a new strategy for Tônica Antarctica and reposition the brand through a human-centered system.

“What does it mean to be a grown-up?” was the first of many questions embraced by this project. During an extensive research process of in-depth interviews and contextual immersion, we spoke to young adults and found out that learning how to taste and appreciate bitterness is the result of a palate development. This is part of a deeper personal movement in which personal interests change as adult life begins.


Amidst chasing after dreams and having few time to achieve them, the ambition for independency and eminent responsibilities, the transition to adulthood can be frustrating. But for those who remain open to learn and change, a sense of accomplishment can be found in a more genuine (and less painful) way.


Based on this discovery, we came up with a new brand mission: revealing to young adults that tough moments aren’t a source of pain but rather an opportunity for growth and learning. Tônica can inspire people to perceive life as an endless sequence of changes, not of rewards. The idea is synthesized by the tagline “bitterness transforms us”, associating Tônica’s distinctive flavor to this specific cultural tension on people’s lives.

Over a period of 5 months working with Ambev’s Innovation Team, we analysed the brand and proposed a solution based on systemic design. The strategy provided a ground for us to create a new visual identity, new packaging and product portfolio. Along the brandbook, we designed an innovation roadmap to support the next steps of brand management for both clients and partners, including activation, communication and experience guidelines.