Soft drinks brand Tango and confectionery brand Crunchie announced last week the launch of a dual branded chocolate bar, Crunchie Tango, which will hit the stores in October (MW last week).
Brand owners Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Britvic Soft Drinks are understood to be relying on the fun and irreverent images of both the brands. They want to offer consumers a blend of these images, aimed at reviving sales for two mature products.
The launch of this limited edition bar will be supported by a radio campaign, through Triangle Communications, and press ads, to be handled by EURO RSCG. Both companies invested in the launch. Cadbury paid Britvic to use the Tango name on the bar, which will feature both Crunchie and Tango logos on the wrapper.
A dedicated product website, www.crunchietango.co.uk, is also due to go live in early October.
Most analysts view this as an interesting and exciting development that creates interest for both brands. But what the industry is also waiting to see is whether the coming together of a drink and a chocolate bar will actually lead to a growth in sales.
Tango needs a shot in the arm. Once the irreverent youth brand, it is now experiencing declining sales. According to Nielsen, its sales fell by 0.3 per cent to between £90m and £95m in the year to August 2000. This is against a soft drinks market which grew by 7.5 per cent.
Observers point out that the risk in this kind of new product development has been reduced by launching only limited editions. Earlier this year, Cadbury introduced limited editions of its Dairy Milk Tackle, Miniature Heroes, Football pack, Time Out Mint Chunky and Lemonade Crunchie.
Graham Singleton, a consultant with brand strategist Value Engineers, says: “This is clever promotional activity. And both the brands are a good fit, since they share the same attributes. But the bar is essentially a soft drink-flavoured chocolate bar. So it remains to be seen whether people will actually buy it.”
Peter Shaw, managing director of creative and design consultancy CLK.MPL, is more upbeat. He says: “The Crunchie Tango is a much stronger way of presenting a product in the market than simply doing a flavour variant. That is what will create interest in the market. This will be a perfect marriage between two brands with similar personalities and will certainly do great things for both the brands – both in terms of sales and presence.”
The excitement generated by the launch clearly stems from the fact that both Crunchie and Tango share a strong brand recall in terms of cheeky and humorous advertising. Remember the exuberant “Crunchie – that Friday feeling” – one of the first ads for Crunchie in the Eighties? And the controversial Tango megaphone and slapping-around-the-face commercials?
Singleton says: “Today’s 16- to 24-year-olds are yesteryear’s eight year-olds, who have grown up with the Tango and Crunchie brands, and the advertising. But I challenge the belief that this innovation will be the key element in driving sales, since consumers might not want two different tastes from one thing.
“However, Crunchie Tango could lead to more brands coming together to inject something into each other. That would be something to watch.”
The new bar is aimed at 16- to 24-year-old males and, although Britain is famously a nation of chocoholics, it remains to be seen how many will be keen to buy Crunchie Tango.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey, managing director of trend forecasting and marketing agency Captaincrikey.com, insists there is a lot more to the launch than mere gimmickry. “A lot of our buying patterns in the past 18 months have gone back into childish brands – like the dreadful mini-scooter. Crunchie is a bigger fit with kids, while the Tango brand is for teen markets, but I think Crunchie Tango could do well with young men. It is a product that might represent a perfect antidote to the pressures of life,” he says.
The new bar represents Tango owner Britvic’s “Right choice” category management strategy, which aims to make soft drinks a first purchase alongside crisps, snacks and confectionery. Britvic external communications manager Karen Heath says: “The new product will strengthen the Tango brand because it is essentially about innovation and surprise. The launch of Crunchie Tango forms a major part of our marketing spend on Tango”.
Shelf displays for the launch will feature Tango bottles next to the new chocolate bar.
Tango spends £10m on advertising a year, through HHCL & Partners. The Crunchie range, which has an advertising spend of more than £2m, is handled by EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper.
Cadbury insists that any innovation behind big brands like Crunchie should drive sales. It has already launched a host of innovative products this year – including square Easter eggs called Squeggs and its Wicked boxed chocolates – aimed at the teenage market
Cadbury Trebor Bassett director of marketing Mark Smith says: “Crunchie is growing at a rate of 16 per cent MAT (moving annual total), and is obviously a core focus brand for us. This is the first time two major brands in different sectors have come together – and only because their coming together has relevance. It’s the aspects of ‘Friday feeling’ and being ‘Tangoed’ coming together.”
Michael Brown, creative director of youth communication agency Beatwax, calls the launch “selling the consumer life-style choices”.
He says: “This is all about synergies between two brands. But on the flip-side, this could also mean diluting both brands. The companies might need to come up with a new identity altogether for Crunchie Tango – a new product with a defined brand position.”
The companies agree that the launch is not only about synergies between the two brands, but is also intended to focus on the individual mother brands.
Cadbury Trebor Bassett says: “Our overall strategy for our brands remains the same – driving category growth. In that way, we can remain market leaders.”
The two companies also say this was a “one-off tie-up” to strengthen both brands.
While the industry is still waiting to see what effects Crunchie Tango will have in the market, most analysts seem to agree that more such brand relationships might emerge in the future – an emergence of multi-tasking brands.