Cadbury Schweppes will launch a bright green caffeinated variant of its 7UP soda. Attempting to turn things upside down in carbonated soft drinks is a noble goal for Cadbury Schweppes - but its chances of success with dnL are limited. The company will need to be more innovative if it is to steal brand loyalty in an already over-crowded flavored soft drink marketplace.
 
It is well known that carbonated drinks are currently struggling to maintain sales and growth. As fizzy sales stay flat while the popularity of waters and all types of 'new age beverages' explodes, executives hope that new flavors such as Vanilla Coke and berry-flavored Pepsi Blue will re-ignite sales.
 
UK-based Cadbury Schweppes' latest attempt at survival is a bright green carbonated soft drink, targeted at teens and young adults. The new product, called dnL (7UP upside-down) will be initially only available in select markets, but the company hopes for national US distribution by January 2003. With convenience a priority for the target audience, dnL will be launched in a clear 20-ounce bottle, with 12-packs and 2-liter bottles rolling out in April 2003.
 
The new product will be an important step forward for Cadbury; it is being touted as an attempt at 'turning things upside down' just as 7UP turned the cola industry back in 1967. And certainly, the caffeine and bright green color differentiate the new product from Cadbury's own product range - headed up by Dr Pepper and 7UP and recently joined by the fruity Red Fusion.
 
In terms of the market place as a whole, however, it is hard to see how this new drink will be different to the mass of other colored, carbonated, and caffeinated soft drinks. Visual stimulation and new tastes are important qualities of food or drinks for the youth market - but it's doubtful that this will be enough for major success.
 
Rather than reinvigorating the category, dnL looks more like a me-too product. In the short term, Cadbury will need an innovative marketing campaign to ensure initial success and explain dnL's unique qualities. Looking further ahead, it should concentrate on more innovative ways of turning the non-alcoholic beverage industry upside down.
 
Related research: Datamonitor, "Best Practices in Drinks 2002" (DMCM0078)