Asda and Spar to pre-empt Coca-Cola’s vanilla launch

Coca-Cola has suffered a blow to its launch of Vanilla Coke following two retailers’ decision to launch their own-brand vanilla cola in the all important two-litre bottles, two months before the soft drinks giant’s own brand hits the shelves.

Asda has launched its own vanilla cola in two-litre bottles. Although 500ml bottles of Vanilla Coke are already being sold in the UK, the core two-litre bottle is not expected to be rolled out until June. Spar is also to pre-empt Coca-Cola with the launch of its two-litre vanilla cola bottle in May.

The move follows Coca-Cola’s decision to bring forward the launch date of Vanilla Coke to fend off grey imports entering the UK from Canada (MW February 13). A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Great Britain says: “The introduction of own-brand rivals should not affect the launch.”

The drink has been a success in the US, where it has sold more than 90 million cases. Pepsi is also thought to be considering the introduction of a vanilla-flavoured variant.

Diet Coke With Lemon was introduced last June (MW April 4, 2002), but its future in the UK is looking doubtful as sales have plummeted. Coca-Cola is also to repackage its Cherry Coke brand to coincide with the launch of Vanilla Coke.

McCann-Erickson was last month handed the &£5m advertising brief to promote Vanilla Coke (MW last week).

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