The Vimtoad was created by Aardman Animations

The Vimtoad was created by Aardman Animations

Soft drinks maker Nichols believes price-marked packaging (PMP) is here to stay, as it revealed PMP accounted for most of Vimto's sales growth in UK impulse channels last year.

Nichols, which is lining up a GBP6.5m (US$10.8m) campaign for its Vimto brand, said today (20 March) that 68% of an 18% sales jump for its 50cl Vimto in the 12 months to the start of February came from price-marked products. For the 50cl Vimto still variant, which saw sales jump by 55% in the UK impulse channel over the same period, 75% of the growth came from PMP.

Category manager Paul Johnson told just-drinks the strong numbers have coincided with a major change in UK soft drinks towards price-marked goods.

“It really has shifted in the past two years,” he said. “When you walk into some of the convenience shops all you can see in the coolers are yellow flashes.”

Johnson said energy drinks have driven the trend, with brands such as Relentless and Monster selling for a price-marked GBP1 (US$1.66) in the impulse channel. However, he warned that current trends may not be sustainable.

“How profitable is it for Monster and the other companies?” he said. “I think PMP is here to stay, but I think that you'll start seeing prices creep up in perhaps three years time.”

Johnson was talking as Nichols unveiled its latest UK campaign for the brand, which will feature a character created by Aardman Animation, the company behind the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit films. The Vimtoad will take centre stage in the campaign, starting with a TV spot due to be released on 26 April. The push will also include radio spots from 12 May as well as tastings across the country.

Of the Vimtoad character, Vimto brand manager Clare Brown said: “We wanted to find something that had appeal with both mums and children. The Vimtoad is so ownable. It's definitely connected to Vimto - it's not something you would mistake for a Robinson's character.”

Nichols has recently expanded its no added sugar range, including a 25cl sportscap bottle to compete with Britvic's Robinson's Fruit Shoot, and a 5cl liquid water enhancer launched at the beginning of the year.