CPG food products that come to mind: go! We're willing to bet that almost every product that immediately came to mind fell under the umbrella of a few top companies. Whether Doritos or Oreos or Pepsi or Snickers, almost all major CPG food brands can be traced back to one parent company or another. Which is exactly why it's so exciting when an independent brand breaks through and becomes a top name in their vertical. Think Chobani, which changed the yogurt game in the past few years.

This year's independent CPG sweetheart? La Croix. Maybe you've never heard of it; it's kind of a big deal. Feel like you're missing out? That's exactly how their marketers want you to feel.

Says Business Insider, "according to some estimates, sales of the drink have tripled to $175 million since 2009." So, what enabled La Croix, which has been around for decades, to take over with the cool-kid crowd and see that kind of sales lift? A few things.

A Retro Vibe

Want millennials' attention? Remember that they love talking about being "90s kids." We spend time on the weekends playing Nintendo 64 semi-ironically, and we love brands like Ray-Ban or Patagonia that create items that look pulled straight from a John Hughes movie. La Croix's packaging feels unapologetically of-another-era, which screams authenticity.

Make It A Lifestyle

Rather than pushing their product via traditional advertising, La Croix's boom came instead from social media lift and word of mouth marketing. Sure, those are tough to manufacture, but if you can get that one influencer to create a hashtag in your honor, you're golden. (Ehem, need tips for working with influencers? Peep this and this.)

Finding a Niche With Unexpected Influencers

According to Vox, La Croix nudged their way into television writers' hearts around 2012 and 2013. They appeared on office supply stores' websites, meaning assistants could simply place an order for delivery rather than lugging around cases of writers' drink of choice, seltzer. Lucky for them, if there's one thing TV writers do well, it's tweet. And La Croix lovers like Parks and Recreation's Joe Mande are bona fide Twitter celebrities with 1 Million + followers.

An Instagrammy Palette

Aside from that retro vibe, the color palette for La Croix packaging is particularly Instagram-friendly. For a certain breed of social media superstar, in particular fitness or lifestyle bloggers, airy, bright photos tinged with pastels are the key to success. And La Croix fits into that styling seamlessly.

Tasting Good

Let's not underestimate the importance of having a great product, at the core. La Croix offers tons of fun flavors and the beverage serves as a healthy alternative for our soda-obsessed culture that's trying to go sugar-free.

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