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Coke chalks out marketing strategy for Schweppes brands

20-June-2001
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Coke chalks out marketing strategy for Schweppes brands

Coca-Cola has chalked out a major promotional plan to push the Cadbury Schweppes brands -- Sport Cola, Crush (orange), Canada Dry (clear lemon), Cadbury Schweppes Soda, Schweppes Tonic Water and Schweppes Lemon (bitter). In order to sort out the problem of category-sharing among the Schweppes brands and their new brands at Coke, the multinational has resorted to further strengthening the pricing paradigm to comfortably accommodate the Schweppes brands in its portfolio.

The Schweppes cola, orange and clear lemon flavours were quite popular in certain market segments and Coke has decided to use the Cadbury Schweppes brands to address niche markets with Sport Cola (300 ml), Crush (300 ml) and Canada Dry (300 ml). A price point of Rs 5 (in some places Rs 7) was fixed to make them affordable to these niche markets.

The other brands, Tonic Water and Bitter Lemon, already enjoyed a premium in the bar and restaurant channel, at a Rs 15 price point for a 250 ml non-returnable glass pack. The sibling brands of Coca-Cola — 300 ml of Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite and 250 ml Maaza — are priced at Rs 10.

The Schweppes brands are being actively marketed in Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat in the west and also in the northern states.

Although there is no mass media advertising for these brands, merchandising conveys the presence of the brands to consumers of the niche markets. The low price point does not allow it the luxury of mass media advertising.

The demand for the Cadbury Schweppes brands are scattered and the volume small, the company plans to advertise them selectively, geography-wise, as well medium-wise. The promotion will be visible on regional channels. Print is also being used. The whole activity will be regionally driven and the call has to be taken at a regional/area level.

Since most of the advertising is region-specific the agencies are also regional. At the brand management level, Publicis Zen is the agency for all Schweppes brands. The company is understood to be working on a whole new approach on the creatives of the Schweppes brands.

The Schweppes brands are available in most towns and not only in rural areas but urban markets too. In the west (north Maharashtra and south Gujarat) they are more entrenched in the SEC C&D markets.

The Schweppes brands were immediately accepted, even welcomed, by consumers as they were the only Indian products in their category. The volumes of these brands were split 60-40 between the bar channel and the retail channel.

The strategy is to continue to drive the brands where they had consumer equity, which in the first place was not all-India. The brands are popular in west, north and central India and parts of the east, which is where we have continued to sell them.

Coca-Cola’s cola brands Coke and Thums Up together command a marketshare of 42 per cent, while competitor Pepsi Cola has a share of 28 per cent. In orange, Coca-Cola’s Fanta has a share of 6.5 per cent. Limca’s has a market share of 12 per cent in the cloudy lemon market, against Mirinda Lemon’s share of 7 per cent. Sprite’s share of two per cent is marginally higher than 7UP’s share of 1.7 per cent.

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