How might we disrupt the snacking category with an extreme flavor proposition?

Breakthrough Strategy | Proposition Development


How hardcore spicy food fanatics disrupted the snacking category


The Challenge

Blue Diamond Growers is 110 years old. As the largest grower of almonds, it produces over 80% of the world’s annual supply. In January 2020, CEO Mark Jansen announced Blue Diamond’s commitment to increase its market share through delivering new, innovative products to drive household penetration.

Our challenge was set: How might we innovate to attract a younger consumer? How might we excite the next generation of snackers? Demand for spicy snacks was growing among Gen Z and Millennials; but no one had yet brought REAL heat to the table. How might we do hot and spicy right for our future consumers?


The Outcomes

The themes and communication territories we uncovered helped to define a proposition that would make our future consumer lean in. The brand needed to challenge the consumer. Appeal to their desire to conquer spicy food; but keep them coming back for more with real heat and real flavor. This strategy would create a groundswell among all Gen Z and Millennials while still appealing to those true heat seekers among them.


The Result

We inspired The #28XTREMES challenge. The TikTok campaign alone delivered 3.6 billion views in 3 days. Real hot stuff.



Our Approach

If you’re not creating with your future customers, you’re not creating for your future customers. We needed to build brand equity with Gen Z consumers. In collaboration with members of The Sense Network, who were fanatical about hot and spicy food, we worked iteratively to evolve the product proposition and communications into a game-changing brand experience.


How The Sense Network Helped

Heat Seekers, by nature, are extreme. Fiercely loyal to their brand of choice, but hard to please, they do nothing by halves. We needed to understand what drives trial and stimulated their love of heat and spice.

From hot food bloggers to global spice hunters we gathered 111 diverse perspectives on the role of heat to articulate and model the sensations of the spice journey: from anticipation to regret.


We now have a source of truth. We’ve never had this much richness and depth before. It’s not just deep and informational, but useful and inspirational.

Jeremy Davis, Group Strategy Director, TBWA\Chiat\Day


How might we find your next best seller

Nike: House Of Innovation

How might we create the most innovative direct to consumer experience in the world?

Nike shop

Sonos: The Future of Voice Control

If we can't outspend Amazon, Google and Apple how might we out-think them?

Sonos speaker

Converse: The Chuck II

How might we innovate to make the world's best-selling sneaker better?

Converse Chuck II


How might we innovate to create the next billion-dollar beverage brand?

3x Pepsi LIFE WTR bottles

Almond Breeze: Five Year Roadmap

How might we establish a lean and agile innovation function overnight?

Almond breeze products

Bupa: Designing for Future Customers

How might we leverage in-house analysis to develop a breakthrough proposition?

Bupa book

Pfizer: Nicorette Innovation Pipeline

How might we work more collaboratively to accelerate our speed of execution?


Blue Diamond: The Future of Almonds

How might we give the business foresight into future growth opportunities?

The future of Almonds poster

Barclays: The Future of Banking

How might we create the go-to retail bank of the future?

Barclays bank

General Electric: The Future of Refrigerators

Extreme Consumers. How might we discover our next competitive advantage?

Cocktail waiter making a cocktail

Cambia Health: The Future of Healthcare

How might we become the champion of America’s Quality of Life?

Cambia presenting findings
Nike Logo
Converse logo
PepsiCo logo
Almond Breeze Logo
Bupa Logo
Pfizer 2021 logo
Blue Diamond Logo
Barclays Logo
General Electric Logo
Cambia Health Logo