Coca-Cola may ditch water plans after sourcing fiasco

Coca-Cola may be forced to delay its all-important launch into the
bottled water market or, even worse, scrap it altogether.

Coca-Cola is scheduled to launch a bottled water in the UK – filling a
gaping hole in its portfolio – in the first quarter o…

Coca-Cola may be forced to delay its all-important launch into the bottled water market or, even worse, scrap it altogether.

Coca-Cola is scheduled to launch a bottled water in the UK – filling a gaping hole in its portfolio – in the first quarter of next year (MW August 3). It will be the first water launched by Coke since Dasani, which failed in 2004 after it was discovered to be tap water containing potentially dangerous chemicals.

But an insider at the soft drinks giant says the company does not have a single source for the water, meaning it could not fulfil the strict criteria governing whether a water manufacturer can claim “spring” or “mineral” provenance for its product.

The insider says: “The problem Coke is having is finding a single source – it is looking instead at launching an ‘on the go’ product positioned as a non-source water.” She adds that Dasani is no longer being considered as the brand name for the water but that another possibility could be Pump, the name of a Coca-Cola water in Australia.

That would be a disastrous step according to three industry experts, all of whom say there is no successful branded water on UK shelves that isn’t a mineral or spring water.

One source says: “After Coke came out of the Dasani episode with egg on its face, you’d think it would prioritise bringing a credible, no-risk water without any question over the source to the market. Customers will be looking for any mistake by Coca-Cola over this launch.”

Another source says: “My sources indicate to me that Coke is still struggling over the water source. The only option for Coke if it can’t claim spring or mineral provenance is to call it a table water. It won’t do that because its brand needs to be upmarket and funky. I would be very surprised if this doesn’t delay Coke’s launch horribly.”

A Coke spokesman says: “We have always said it is our intention to be a major player in the bottled water category, but we have no plans to announce at this stage.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here