Burn, the Coca-Cola energy drink aimed at the style-conscious bargoer, has altered its marketing strategy to appeal to consumers at cut-price pubs and airport bars.
The mixer, once dubbed “elusive” and “mysterious” because of its deliberately low-key launch last October, is targeting the mass market with a series of three-month trials at 40 Wetherspoon and 20 Branigan’s outlets.
A Wetherspoon spokesman says if it is successful it may be extended to 400 bars across the country.
Coca-Coca chiefs are also using some airport bars to target consumers on their way to clubbing islands such as Ibiza and Ayia Napa, and is “seriously considering” launching in the Greek islands this summer.
Coca-Cola has denied it is to launch Burn in supermarkets, but says an “overt” marketing campaign could be on the cards.
Some industry sources believe the change in strategy shows the brand is struggling.
One says: “Burn has not had a lot of success in the niche market and has been rebuffed by the style bars. This smacks of short-term panic – it seems they have resorted to big-brand tactics to try to sort the problem out.”
Coca-Cola refutes the claims and says the roll-out is part of its on-going strategy for the brand.
Zenith International, the drinks consultancy, predicts that the energy drinks market will be worth &£1bn in the UK by next year.