Ribena readies £5m campaign to differentiate Ribena Plus range

Ribena is readying a £5m marketing campaign to promote its Ribena Plus range, with creative that eschews the long-running “Ribena berries” cartoon characters in favour of live action as it looks to differentiate the variant from the core brand and raise awareness with mums about the “added benefits” of the drink.

Ribena ad
Ribena launches £5m campaign to raise awareness of its Plus sub-brand.

The push, which represents a 35 per cent increased media spend year on year, centres around a TV spot that highlights how mums can be “creative with the truth” in order to encourage children to do what is best for their wellbeing. Such “creative truths” include a mum telling her son that carrots will help them see in the dark or that ice cream vans stop serving when they play music.

The ad then goes on to explain how mums do not need to be creative with the truth when it comes to giving their children Ribena Plus, because it contains no added sugar and includes additional vitamins and calcium.

The “creative truths” theme also extends to VOD where Ribena Plus has created a bespoke ad for YouTube’s TrueView skippable ad format, which sees the star of the ad communicate all the key messages “in one breath” in one spot, while another sees him encourage viewers to watch on by stating “mum says if you skip this ad the WiFi will turn off”.

The campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, will also appear across print, social and digital display  – with the latter including a link through to a money-off coupon to redeem in supermarkets.

When asked whether pinning a campaign around “white lies” could be risky in terms of consumer backlash within the often controversial soft drinks category, Rose Gray, Ribena brand development manager, told Marketing Week: “It’s not a risk. The campaign idea actually comes from mums. We did both qualitative and quantitative research and what came across from mums was about how they smuggle goodness into their kids using traditional well used sayings.

“Mums don’t see these as little while lies, it’s about being a little creative with the truth. Mums emphasise with [the ad idea] a lot.”

Gray says the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the no added sugar and added vitamin and calcium benefits of the Plus range. She admitted previous campaigns, which had used the Ribena berries characters, had not differentiated the product enough and provided enough “new news” for the added benefits to cut through.

The Ribena Plus sub-range is worth £9m, according to the latest moving annual total data from Nielsen Scantrack compiled in February. It sits in the squash category, which grew at 3.4 per cent year on year to £533m in the same period. No added sugar squashes account for £347m of that total and sales are growing ahead of the category at 4.1 per cent year on year.

The Ribena and Lucozade brands were recently sold by GSK to Japanese drinks company Suntory for £1.35bn last September. 

Gray says while it is still to early to assess the impact the Suntory acquisition may have on Ribena’s sales and brand health, she explained how one of the new owner’s founding principles translates as “go for it” which is helping “empower” employees to try new things.

Last month Lucozade Sport launched a £10m advertising campaign starring Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard. 

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