Bai Black was launched last November

Bai Black was launched last November

The head of Dr Pepper Snapple Group has said the recently-purchased Bai soft drink range will join the company's priority portfolio, as the group looks to cater for changing consumer needs.

DPSG closed the US$1.7bn acquisition of Bai Brands at the end of January. In a conference call yesterday, following the company's fourth quarter and full-year 2016 results, CEO Larry Young said the brand has "an enormous amount of potential". 

"Bai grew by over 100% in the fourth quarter, cycling triple-digit growth in the prior year period," Young said. "We are really excited about the prospects of this brand."

Young added that the company will keep Bai as a separate business, in order to avoid "distraction".

"The Bai guys are out there... kicking butt on their own and our guys are out there doing the same thing with 7UP," he said.

Within the Bai portfolio, Young highlighted new packaging for Bai Bubbles as well as a marketing push for classic soda line Bai Black. He also pointed to growth for RTD tea Supertea. "In 2016, [Supertea] was sitting at about 11% and we're looking at tripling that... by 2018."

DPSG also flagged this year's Bai Super Bowl commercial, starring Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken. "It garnered a tremendous amount of positive attention on social media and undoubtedly drove awareness of the brand," Young said. "I don't know what it means, but I was told within minutes, their website just about went down. It was so inundated with people looking at the brand."

Going forward, DPSG said it can see international opportunities for Bai. "There is a geography that they - and now us - are working on," said CFO Martin Ellen. "I don't want to comment until we actually have something to comment on." 

Bai Brands - What has Dr Pepper Snapple Group bought for US1.7bn? - Click here for a just-drinks focus