GSK to replace Ribena variants with Really Light

GlaxoSmithKline is to axe its Ribena Toothkind and Ribena Light sub-brands in April, replacing them with Ribena Really Light.

Ribena Really Light will combine the “no added sugar” proposition of Toothkind with the low-calorie nature of Ribena Light. Marketing will continue to move away from speaking to mothers and target eight- to 12-year-olds directly, as 2003’s “Oi. Are you a Ribena pulla squeeza geeza?” campaign did.

The company is also thought to be ditching its 250ml Tetra Pak cardboard cartons for all but the Ribena Original flavour and will package all its ready-to-drink flavours in sports-cap bottles.

The initiative will position the brand as a more direct competitor to Britvic Soft Drinks’ successful Robinsons Fruit Shoot. Ribena Original and Toothkind are already sold in 200ml sports-cap bottles.

GSK’s overhaul of Ribena follows criticism of the amount of sugar in children’s juice drinks, as part of the wider obesity debate. It is also thought that controversy over Toothkind has affected perceptions of the rest of the Ribena line, suggesting the drinks are unhealthy.

Toothkind was launched in 1998 and ran into controversy over marketing literature that claimed the variant did not cause tooth decay (MW February 1, 2001).

GSK has yet to appoint an ad agency for the brand and has shortlisted incumbent Grey Advertising and M&C Saatchi to pitch. M&C handles sister brand Lucozade Sport. The pitch is in the second phase of research.

Last April, the company appointed Chris Harley-Martin as vice-president of marketing and innovation for Nutritional Healthcare brands (MW April 29, 2004).

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