The incubator, called WiseHead, aims to meet changing consumer needs by providing them with more soft drink choices as Britvic believes “non-alcoholic beer and wine aren’t hitting the mark”.
The move comes after a 2015 study by the Office for National Statistics showed that people’s tastes in the drinks market are shifting, in part due to health concerns.
WiseHead’s first product is Thomas & Evans No. 1. The product will be rolled out in partnership with Harvey Nicholls and is described as a “zero proof drink” as it has no alcohol, sugar or sweeteners added to the drink.
“The ethos behind WiseHead is to [create] great zero-proof drinks. We want to create a new category distinct from water and juice,” Ounal Bailey, WiseHead co-founder and director of adult portfolio brands and new ventures at Britvic told Marketing Week.
WiseHead is not expected to launch a certain number of new products every year. Instead, the company is focused on experimentation.
“It’s not just about the number of outlets that we’d like to hit and the number of consumers that are drinking our products. Rather than burdening it with the same targets as [Britvic], it’s about experimentation,” Bailey said.
Moving away from big bucks advertising
WiseHead also won’t be rolling out any above-the-line campaigns for its products. Instead, it is taking a grass-roots approach and focus on developing “credibility” within the drinks space.
“Rather than big bucks advertising, it’s about consumers understanding the extra effort we took [developing these products]. It’s much more focused on grass-roots and is a departure from what we normally do.
“While Britvic has historically been fantastic at creating household names, here we are trying something a bit different and seeing where that takes us.”
While WiseHead will have an independent team developing new adult soft drinks, it will collaborate closely with Britvic’s own talent.
“I have colleagues who work in R&D, and I would absolutely tap into those people. We can bring in a sense of creativity and dynamism of a start-up with the reassurance of a big company behind us,” she said.
Bailey ultimately hopes the new launch will add another string to Britvic’s bow, and positively affect the company as a whole.
She concluded: “I would hope that WiseHead can deliver a halo effect for Britvic as a whole. Without Britvic, we couldn’t have done it.”