On Thursday 17th November, we’ll be exploring the mystery behind the marketing magic: devising strategy, making measurements and meeting goals.

We’ll be joined by the Founder of Ugly, Hugh Thomas, and the UK Marketing Director of KIND, John McManus, to discuss all things brand marketing, how they work with influencers, strategies to successfully reach their target audience plus much more.

Ahead of our discussion, we caught up with Hugh Thomas to discuss everything from key messaging to rebranding.

We want to tell The Ugly Truth in the way we do things. Ugly makes no promises, it’s just sparkling water in a can, infused with fruit. No sugar, no sweetener, no calories and absolutely nothing artificial.

Ugly was started with an ambition to challenge the status quo we saw in the soft drinks market. Too many brands and beverages were over promising with their marketing and under delivering with the nutritional contents of their products. Products laden with sugar, sweetener and artificial ingredients are everywhere.

At the same time, we are living in a world of fake news and alternative facts, and what we all really want is the TRUTH.

Alongside beverages, we want to expose other Ugly Truth’s we see in the world and give back. We will be launching our first campaign in the coming months. Watch this space!

Why do you think so many drinks brands sacrifice simplicity when it comes to their ingredients and messaging?

We think brands have taken the easy option for too long. Creating sugar-sweetened beverages that consumers get hooked to, is easy. Ugly is trying to disrupt this and take on a status quo that has been accepted for far too long.

We have a clear purpose behind us and a real mission to change the way things are done.

The big soda brands don’t share this purpose.


How did the process of rebranding come into place?

For us, the re-brand was a real recognition that we need to keep evolving and developing the brand to tell the story and mission to consumers better.

In order to take on Goliath, we need to make sure we stand out and having a clear, colourful brand on shelves is vital to allow us to do this.

We are so excited about the brand story that we are currently telling and love seeing the new packaging and design on shelves!

How do you make sure you engage and interact with your ambassadors and relevant audiences online?

At Ugly we see ‘digital’ as a way of scaling our 1-1 relationships with fans and ambassadors. The online audiences are spoken to and communicated with by ourselves internally.

We personally know our ambassadors and through social media, are able to stay in touch and follow their lives and updates. This gives us a deep and personal relationship with our fans that goes beyond a purely transactional relationship. By getting to know our audience and really immersing ourselves, we’ve been able to build a truly authentic following.

How does the team assess how to work with influencers online?

Everything you see from Ugly online is delivered by our small team internally. We want to make sure that every relationship feels authentic, and want to avoid a sporadic or scattergun approach to working with influencers. We are looking for individuals who reflect our Ugly brand values.

Influencers we are looking for are authentic, positive rebels, who are doing something positive in their respective space whether health and wellness, creatively or musically.

Influencers must reflect our vibe and attitude and we owe it to them too, to get to know them.

How do you assess the involvement of the brand at events, and how do you decide whether it’s worth aligning with a specific partner?

We see events in much the same way as we work with influencers. It’s all about getting to know the event at a deep level and really understanding how we can work together. We treat all relationships with events as 2-way partnerships where we work together to improve the experience for attendees as much as possible.

For Ugly, it’s all about working with events and vibes that capture our attitude and vibe and are attended by the authentic positive rebels that support our Ugly mission!

We have a set of internal questions (guided by our brand values) that we run through before working with any event.

Join us for our upcoming HBCxTALK below