Coke axes Coca-Cola Life brand as sales tumble

Coca-Cola is phasing out its Life brand in the UK less than three years after the troubled product’s launch as new figures show sales are slumping.

Coca-Cola is to axe its Life brand in the UK from June as sales continue to fall.

Coca-Cola Life, which accounts for just under 1% of the company’s trademark sales, has been dogged by poor performance since launching in 2014. The product is marketed as a more natural alternative to other Coke variants as it is partially sweetened with stevia extract.

During the year to 18 March 2017, Coca-Cola Life’s volume sales fell 73.1% and dropped 74.6% in value terms, according to Nielsen data seen by Marketing Week. By contrast, volume sales for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar rocketed by 81.2% and value sales by 56.6% during the same period.

The company said now was the right time to phase out the Life brand in order to make a clearer distinction between its sugar and sugar-free options. The latter now make up 52% of its UK sales.

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson questioned the wisdom of creating the Life brand at the time of its launch, arguing it was a “half-way house” between the regular variant and existing healthier options.

Commenting on the company’s bigger struggle to grow group sales, he said: “Innovations like Coke Life cannot and will not save the day.”

Coca-Cola launched its ‘One Brand’ strategy in March 2015 to bring its product variants under the Coca-Cola master brand instead of being marketed as separate products. The company said that after pulling the Life brand it would focus on promoting the remaining three variants: Coca-Cola Classic, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke.

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  • Pete Austin 6 Apr 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Good day for Coca-Cola to bury bad news:

  • Natalie Sirois 9 Apr 2017 at 1:22 am

    Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy for this product was not well thought out, and the statistics provided in this article really back that up. I believe this was a result of not enough research needed on the given market Coca-Cola was entering. I also believe a factor of this would be the branding of the product in general. The audience of consumers for Coca-Cola aren’t necessarily the most health conscious, therefore real or fake sugar doesn’t really matter. They want good taste, and will most likely lean towards the classic beverage to get that job done. People who are more health conscious would most likely stay away from Coca-Cola in general due to the fact that soda is soda no matter if there is “natural” sugar or not; soda is not healthy and therefore will not be touched for people who are health conscious. Additionally, the branding of the product is not clear. When seeing all the Coca-Cola products all together in a super market for example, you see Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, and then Coca-Cola Life. Coca-Cola life? What does that mean? First glance, a consumer would have no idea what differentiates the product from others and let’s face it–consumers are lazy. You need to make the packaging simple and concise. Overall, I think that this was a good idea, but not necessarily well executed.

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