Virgin is to launch a soft drink in direct competition to Pernod-Ricard’s Orangina next month.
Virgin Cola France will distribute the product, called Virgin Pulp, through supermarkets and hypermarkets to challenge Orangina’s dominance of the flavoured carbonates market.
Pernod-Ricard is negotiating to sell Orangina to Virgin’s rival Coca-Cola, but the deal has yet to be given the green light by the French monopoly authorities.
The carbonated orange-flavoured drink will be sold in cans and plastic bottles with blue and yellow labelling. The bottles will resemble a curvaceous woman, dub-bed “The Pammy” after former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, first seen in the UK containing cola during 1996.
Olivier Le Faivre, communications director for Virgin Cola France, says Orangina has a 67.2 per cent volume share of the 142 million litres of flavoured carbonates sold through the French retail trade.
He adds: “Virgin’s strategy is to challenge monopolies and to get a piece of the cake.”
Le Faivre claims that Virgin Cola – launched in France in June 1996 – has 2.5 per cent of the French cola-flavoured soft drinks market sold through retail.
In the UK, Virgin sells Virgin Orange Lips which competes with Tango, and denies it plans to launch Virgin Pulp. Orangina is bottled and marketed by AG Barr in this country.