COMMENT: Britvic cuts its losses
Tango Strange Soda has had a turbulent launch, creating numerous marketing headaches for Britvic during the last 12 months. The decision to axe the brand after less than a year on the market further raises doubts about the much hyped, yet difficult to target, tweenage consumer.
Tango Strange Soda's failure can certainly not be attributed to lack of marketing resources. Britvic invested £6.25m in the drink's launch and over £500,000 in advertising last year. Recent price cuts have done little to enhance sales and Britvic now accepts that the concept of the drink "proved too challenging to consumers and the brand has not delivered against expectations."
The main challenge to consumers was the notion of texture based fizz. At the time of launch, Britvic claimed Freekee, which was three years in development, fills the gap in the tween (10 to 13 year-olds) market with its 'texture-based fizz'. However the product's milk base combined with fizz has been deemed confusing, particularly to parents.
Another significant marketing problem Britvic faced was establishing an appropriate name. The product launched as Freekee Soda, but feedback suggested the word could be unsuitable because it is a substitute for a swear word. Then in September, Britvic had to change its name to Tango Strange Soda following a legal challenge from another European confectionery manufacturer. By this point the product was already experiencing problems with a disappointing sales performance causing retailers to review the product.
It is also possible that Britvic has failed to understand the aspirations of its target consumers. One of the major desires of tweenagers is to mature beyond their years and attain what they perceive as the benefits of being older. Consequently, they have a tendency to disassociate themselves from what they perceive to be child-orientated products or marketing that treats them as such.
Britvic has clearly experienced difficulties in appealing to such fickle consumers. Despite their growing purchasing power, Tweengers are a tough consumer group to crack and innovations in general are struggling for longevity with figures showing only one in ten new product innovations are successful.
Sectors: Soft drinks
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