I rarely order sweet beverages when eating out, but San Pellegrino is the exception. Recently, I started wondering why my consumer behavior changed when presented with this option: after all, it’s not significantly different from other carbonated drinks and usually more expensive. One factor could simply be that I enjoy the taste, which I would describe as “lighter” than most of the other common options. But I don’t think that is a comprehensive explanation, as it ignores the significant role that branding plays. I realized that I subconsciously put San Pellegrino in a separate category from other soft drinks, and upon further research, that this is a huge component of San Pellegrino’s marketing strategy. For example, on their website, the orange-flavored San Pellegrino is described as “Italy’s most famous aranciata”, and there is no mention of orange juice until the ingredients section. Yet various Internet sources say that aranciata is just the Italian word for orange juice/orangeade. This is an example of how San Pellegrino distinguishes itself from alternatives: presenting itself as a foreign, distinct kind of beverage and avoiding the negative associations often attributed to soft drinks like orange soda. Similarly, the design of the beverage cans diverges from the industry standard of simplicity and pop colors, and instead has many words in small typing, images of fruit, and overall a more classy feel. Furthermore, there is a piece of foil covering the top of the cans, which doesn’t seem to serve any purpose and just slightly complicates the drinking process. These all point to a common theme of inaccessibility and uniqueness — perhaps I get San Pellegrino primarily because I feel like I taking advantage of an opportunity to drink a “special” beverage — that I believe is crucial to their success.