Crush Worthy Brands: Fest Cola

"This is the type of project Cerberus loves, the launch of a product and the chance to craft its cornerstone elements from the jump."

As in any relationship, there’s a lot that can go wrong when agencies and brands connect. Poor communication, unrealistic expectations, and an inability to meet changing needs can all bring a promising partnership to a screeching halt. But, sometimes things just go right. The insight, the strategy, the people, all come together, and it shows in the work. Rocky Russo, ‎Partner and Creative Director, at Cerberus, shared with us his experience with client, Fest Cola. 


Rarely are we asked to work with the owner of such an exciting product from the ground up. Roy Nelson and his wife, Ashley came to meet our team, and we just gelled. The trust we were able to establish created a confidence in each party that spawned a near idyllic ideation process to not only help to establish the name, Fest, but to also help finalize the formulation of the line's flavors and colors. This is the type of project Cerberus loves, the launch of a product and the chance to craft its cornerstone elements from the jump.

Immediately we discussed how we might avoid the trappings of so many local Louisiana products and instead deliver a fresh voice and contemporary design in order to compete on the alternative soda/drink shelves of local grocers and eventually, across the nation. Both parties agreed that the brand should offer a sleek salute to New Orleans, while avoiding blatant iconography and exhaustive nostalgia so common with so many local products.

Cerberus devised to accomplish this by first designing each bottle with a signature nickname included on the neck. On the reverse of each label, Cerberus included a brief description of the New Orleans icon for which the flavors were nicknamed (see them all below). The product designs and 4-pak carrier designs were each included in the Leurzer's Archive publications, Top 200 Packaging Designers 2015/2016 and Top 200 Packaging Designers 2017/2018. Cerberus also went on to create a branded website, mobile site, series of four print ads and TV spots, merchandise as well as vehicle design to help launch the brand.

In just the first six months after its launch, Fest Cola enjoyed widespread distribution across the state to more than 100 locations. Beyond Louisiana, Fest Cola can be purchased at numerous online outlets as well as retailers in California, Illinois, and Texas. Additionally, our design and advertising solutions for Fest Cola have appeared on the following creative industry websites: Advertising Age’s Creativity, The Dieline, Ads Of The World, The Creative Ham, Adland.TV, and Adeevee. The Fest Cola packaging designs, environmental design, print campaign and TV campaign were each recognized as winning entries in the American Advertising Federation competition in New Orleans.

Our signature cola is a unique southern blend of distinct Almond notes and natural cola flavor nicknamed after the African dance and drumming tradition that influenced the origins of jazz in New Orleans, the Bamboula. 

Distinct pecan and praline notes add a degree of complexity to the naturally flavored root beer nicknamed for New Orleans' jazz pioneer, Joe King Oliver. Louis Armstrong called Papa Joe his primary musical influence. 

Our naturally flavored Southern mandarin soda adds a hint of cool mint to sunshine kissed Satsuma and is nicknamed for the flame-torches that lit up the nights for the earliest Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. 

Our original cream soda marries the oak undertones of Bourbon with a natural vanilla bean flavor and is nicknamed for Lulu White, madam of Mahogany Hall. Lulu's Storyville brothel was forcibly closed in 1917.