Britvic's recently launched Freekee Soda soft drink faces a make or break summer period. With faltering sales three months into launch, Britvic is realising the difficulties of appealing to young consumers. Despite their growing purchasing power, tweenagers are a difficult consumer group to crack.

These are important times for Freekee Soda. Disappointing sales performance is causing retailers to review the product; suggesting Britvic may be relying too heavily on out-dated notions of how to effectively target tweenagers.

The drink has been backed by a spend of £1.5m on manufacturing equipment and a substantial £6.25m marketing budget. Despite this, current performance is not matching Britvic's ambitious outlook for the brand, which was launched on the back of what were described as "compelling consumer insights".

Current marketing tactics have tried to make the product cool and fun, two vital propositions of any tweenage offering. The approach includes a Freekee Soda microsite - freekeesoda.com, mainstream TV advertising and in-store sampling campaigns. The ads, complemented by widespread sampling and price promotions, are set to continue during the summer in what will be a very important period for the product's overall success.

At the time of launch Britvic claimed Freekee, after three years in development, fills a gap in the tween (10 to 13-year-olds) market with its 'texture-based fizz'. However, this has been deemed part of the problem. Freekee's milk base combined with fizz has been deemed confusing, whilst the premium pricing strategy is also a deterrent. Asda has already cut the price of Freekee Soda by more than half.

However, perhaps of greater significance is 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. On this basis, perhaps Britvic should consider giving Freekee a heightened teenage focus in order to appeal to its 10- to13-year-old target market.