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Sparkling water has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and sales are expected to continue to rise. All ages enjoy sparkling water, from kids to adults; however, sparkling water needs can differ by age group. For example, kids are often unconcerned with how healthy a sparkling beverage is, favoring a sweet taste above all else. Many parents, however -- who more often purchase the product -- prefer to buy healthier drinks for their kids. 

So, what do you do if you've created a kid-centric sparkling water product and want to ensure it will appeal to both kids' and parents' needs? This was the dilemma of our client, a popular beverage manufacturer.

We created a multi-stage qualitative research program to dive deep into both kids' and parents' feelings toward the client's product, as well as parents’ attitudes toward marketing communications. As a result of the research program, our clients were able to further refine their sparkling water product and messaging to align with kids' and parents' differing needs when it comes to sparkling beverages.


A well-known beverage manufacturer had developed a new sparkling water product for kids and approached C+R for help in informing both the product's refinement and marketing efforts around the initiative.

Specifically, the client sought to:

  • Identify what parents value and are willing to buy for their kids (focusing on product ingredients, packaging, claims, etc.);
  • Understand what appeals to kids in the sparkling water space; and
  • Explore what type of messaging would resonate with parents.

Our client discovered that parents showed interest in the sparkling water concept as it was seen to be healthier than soda, yet also fun. Kids also liked the concept, especially that they would still have a sweet option to drink and multiple flavors to choose from. In addition, the marketing messages were seen as relevant and interesting to them.

Along with deeper insights into kids' and parents' feelings surrounding the sparkling beverage space, our client also received specific recommendations for improving their product concept and its messaging. 


C+R created a three-phase qualitative research program to help our client develop and market their kids sparkling water product.

Phase 1 consisted of a "Kids 101" presentation to share our knowledge about trends regarding kids and their parents. The session helped to ground the client team in kids' and parents' needs, and it also served as a kick-off meeting for the custom research program.

During Phase 2, C+R developed a three-day asynchronous online discussion board with kids. Twenty-eight kids aged 7 through 12 participated, with an equal number of boys and girls representing a mix of cultural backgrounds. All were users and accepters of sparkling beverages and came from households with an annual income of at least $40,000. 

The kids participated in a number of activities and game-like techniques that allowed us to capture their thoughts about sparkling beverages in general and our client's sparkling water idea specifically. 

Phase 3 consisted of four webcam focus groups with parents. Each group lasted two hours. In total, we interviewed 19 parents; all had at least one child between the ages of six and 12 years old who liked sparkling beverages. Via the webcam focus groups, we dove deeply into the beverages their kids drank, as well as the appeal, relevance, and credibility of our client's sparkling water concept and marketing messages.

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