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COMMENT: GlaxoSmithKline sending the kids to bed

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In what seems to be an effort to make the Horlicks brand more modern and relevant, GSK has clearly identified the enormity of pester power as a purchase driver. However, it will be vital to disassociate from any 'pharma' connotations when convincing kids and parents alike that the new flavors will be appealing.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer is hoping that Horlicks, its flagship brand, will be able to capitalize on the growing influence of children in grocery shopping to successfully beat its competition in the drinking chocolate market.

By targeting children more directly, GSK will undoubtedly be hoping to benefit from a positive 'knock-on' effect for sales to parents. The enormous market potential and wide ranging influence of children is highlighted by Kellogg's Real Fruit Winders, the success of which contributed to a positive impact on the parent brand's overall margins.

Supported by a multi-million pound advertising campaign, three new flavors, including chocolate and strawberry, will be introduced in single-sachet packs. There will also be new packaging designs using animal characters.

Instead of targeting mothers, as in the past, the quintessential health food drink will be adding 'fun' to what has traditionally been a health and nutrition focused positioning. It is also understood that the new products will promote the overall brand claim that Horlicks helps people to sleep.

Children are not naturally attracted to 'healthy foods'. Therefore, offering attractive and fun packaging to children, while offering health benefits to parents, achieves one of the most vital aspects in successful 'dual appeal' marketing. GSK has clearly concentrated on providing the appropriate packaging face-lift that will appeal to children, but it will be particularly important that the company has created suitably palatable tastes for children as well.

If a child is attracted to a food product and asks for it, the parent will probably buy it, especially if it is perceived as healthy. If the child actually likes the healthy drink, the parent will be more willing to re-buy the product than other, less tasty, healthy options or sugar-filled alternatives.

A successful launch for GSK will undoubtedly generate keen interest among beverage marketers as well as add substance to the argument that so called 'adult brands' can extend their market appeal through slight modifications to make them appealing to children.


Sectors: Soft drinks

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