GSK pulls Solstis and plans for summer launch

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is axing its energy drink Solstis to pave the way for a new product, possibly under the revived NRG brand.

Experts say that GSK’s Nutritional Healthcare division is working on the new energy drink, with plans for a summer launch.

The company launched Solstis in April 1999 with a campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather, but the drink failed to make significant sales and has received no marketing support for at least a year.

Solstis was introduced just as GSK phased out Lucozade NRG – a brand extension to Lucozade Energy introduced in 1995. Lucozade NRG was relaunched in 1997 after poor sales, with the packaging changing from 250ml to 330ml, but it was pulled from the portfolio in 1999.

The energy drink sector is worth &£393m, with sales from retailers accounting for a quarter of the value and the rest coming from pubs, bars and other “away from home” outlets.

Competition is hotting up in the sector. Britvic Soft Drinks overhauled its energy drink Red Devil with a new packaging design this week, while Coca-Cola Great Britain is expected to launch BPM, the energy drink developed by Coca-Cola Ireland, this summer.

GSK Nutritional Healthcare recently appointed Chris Harley-Martin, vice-president of strategy and business development, as vice-president of marketing and innovation. He replaced Julie Leivers, who left without a job to go to (MW April 29).

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