Unilever SuperShots for Blood Pressure

Unilever takes the Promise brand further down the heart-health road with SuperShots for Blood Pressure.

By Hollis Ashman, Jacqueline Beckley and Jennifer Vahalik, Consumer Understanding Editors

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The experience

Promise SuperShots are available in a four-pack of 3.3-oz. (100 ml) containers for $3.99. They are designed for dosed consumption of 350mg of potassium. They are available in three fruit blends: strawberry banana, peach apricot and mixed berry.

SuperShots are sold refrigerated with a good shelf life (purchased in July, best used by November). The bottle graphics reflect the health condition “Help control blood pressure” in large font on a blue background with “good source of potassium” in smaller type, along with the Promise Activ logo of a heart. In-depth health and nutritional details are printed inside the cardboard overwrap.

It is clear this is a medically focused product with the colors, graphics and shape. Opening the bottle is not too difficult with a thin plastic lid wrapping.
This small beverage can be chugged or sipped. The mouth opening is sized for either. Color was perceived from the top of the container (dark red fruit) but aroma was really not sensed.

Flavor and texture are critical to the perception of the quality of drinks. The product claims to be made with real fruit. For this mixed berry, it had the taste of berry with what we felt was a “superfruit” taste. There was a dark red fruit flavor that all felt was very pleasant, sweet but not too sweet. The mouthfeel for a shot was deemed “excellent,” not too thick, syrupy or “gloppy.” The shot was definitely well balanced with respect to fruit, acid and sweetness. People felt that if they had a blood pressure issue, they could see consuming this product as part of a healthy diet.

Our evaluators loved that it was low in calories (only 45 calories), which would enable the SuperShots to accompany a regular meal. People felt that they would not have to sacrifice other foods because this product was low in calories.

Does the product deliver?
The Promise brand is about delicious foods to promote a healthy lifestyle and maintain heart health. This healthy food will empower consumers to take charge of their health and wellness. The dosed size makes clear this is a food that is about functional health.

The drink inside delivers beyond the taste and texture expectations set by the packaging. It appears that Unilever is purposefully thinking about the functional benefit and the product design in both this product and the earlier launch of Promise SuperShots for Cholesterol.

One concern we have is that unless the consumer is aware he or she has the health issue, they may not understand why the product should work (i.e. potassium’s relation to blood pressure management), and thus they may rely only on the claim and the endorsement.

How to make the idea bigger: The original Promise brand was about getting nutrition and cholesterol management. The first functional drink – Promise Activ for Cholesterol – continued the brand promise. This new direction broadens the message of managing heart disease via blood pressure, not just cholesterol levels. It also allows the brand to extend into other health conditions and other functional shots, a direction we are sure must be in the plans.

The product is easy to consume, tastes good and allows consumers to get the nutritional benefits they are looking for. The packaging never tells the consumer how many servings of fruit they are getting; creating shots that have both the functional benefit and a fruit serving benefit could be another direction. At 11g of sugar, the product might be just a little bit over the level that health-oriented consumers are looking for, so looking a little more down the road at that ingredient might provide expansion ideas.

This new product expands the brand beyond cholesterol and into new health conditions related to heart health. Many consumers understand the Promise brand messaging of cholesterol reduction via plant sterols. They may not understand that SuperShots are going beyond sterols into other functional areas and therefore further communication may assist this effort. While Unilever will not run TV ads on a product like this, we could foresee the type of ads drug companies use for their products to assist this understanding.

Rating: Promise SuperShots – Mixed Berry does deliver on the nutritional and taste promises. It’s an easy-to-consume food delivery of nutritional benefits.
Market potential: Very good, for the brand, great for the category and good for the consumer. As a means to expand the overall brand, this is a good start in delivering more heart health related options. We can image other functional directions over time.

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