The Virgin Cola Company is to launch direct rivals to PepsiCo’s 7-Up and Britvic’s Tango next month, called Virgin Lips.
Virgin is working with its partner Cott Europe to launch orange and lemon-and-lime flavoured carbonated soft drinks under the new brand name.
Packaged in fluorescent orange and green cans with the slogan “Can to mouth resuscitation”, the drinks will target teenagers and be sold as cheaper alternatives to leading brands.
Virgin claims the drinks will taste better than its rivals because they contain five per cent natural fruit juice. Diet versions of Virgin Lips will be launched early next year.
The Virgin launch comes at the end of one of the hottest UK summers on record. Several soft drink manufacturers have already reported record sales.
Virgin Trading Company marketing director James Kydd denies there have been delays in developing Virgin Lips. He says the intention has always been to launch Virgin Lips by the end of this year.
Kydd says that having a greater number of brands will help Virgin win wholesale deals for summer next year. “We wanted to launch Virgin Lips by the end of the year. Having just two brands makes it harder to do critical deals at wholesale level. Virgin Lips means we will not be handicapped at those levels,” he says.
Despite huge marketing campaigns by its rivals, Virgin says that, in the short term at least, it will rely on free PR coverage.
The Durham-based Lanchester Group is launching Cola Lips and Lemon Lips – two alcoholic versions of the soft drinks.