By Pat Brazzier of P.A.S.H. Beverage Research

Following Diageo's recent decision to axe its schnapps and wine brand Archers Eden, which was introduced in October 2003, Bacardi Martini has decided to drop its wine based spritzer Coomira Coast, which was designed specifically for women and launched nationally in August 2003.

The axing of these brands will not help the recent launch by German company Langguth of its white wine crush, Blue Nun-based, Slinky brand. A £1m marketing package has been set aside to target women over the summer. Advertisements in consumer titles will use the strapline 'It's a Slinky thing', alongside quotes from a series of chats between two women.

In the latest Diageo interim report the company announced that the UK RTD segment continues to decline with both volume and pricing under pressure. Reflecting this trend Smirnoff RTD volumes fell 12% and net sales (after deducting excise taxes) declined by 20%, although, the brand grew market share by three percentage points.

However, Diageo is hoping to create new interest in the brand by changing the taste of the Smirnoff Black Ice variant to make it less sweet. The labels of both Smirnoff Ice variants will be changed to resemble the parent brand and a picture of an eagle will be added to give Smirnoff Ice a brand icon.

The re-launch is set for May and will be backed up by a £7m advertising campaign (total spend for 2004 will be £15m).

Bristol based Matthew Clark have taken on the rights to the Metz brand from Bacardi Martini who will be focusing on the Bacardi Breezer range while Coors Brewers have axed their Java range to concentrate on Reef.