In its results statement for the full year to 30 September, the drinks company credited its marketing team for delivering “strong” execution activity – including a heavyweight print campaign – to ensure it returned the brand back to its previous sales levels as soon as possible, after recalling all Fruit Shoot and Hydro products from recall following a safety issue with the bottles’ caps.
It says “the early indicators are positive” and that brand health measures are back towards pre-recall levels. Britvic expects production to achieve levels in line with historical demand by January 2013.
The recall did, however, have a negative effect on Britvic’s profit for the year, which was down 19 per cent year on year to £84.4 million. It also blamed “some of the coldest, wettest summer weather ever recorded” for the dip. Group revenue was down 0.8 per cent to £1.3bn.
Britvic commenced its year-round marketing programme in October 2011 with an initiative linking Pepsi with Doritos, which it says helped boost the share of its carbonates portfolio alongside the introduction of new 250ml cans for the Pepsi, 7UP and Tango brands.
In its stills portfolio, Britvic says Robinson’s benefited from heavyweight marketing investment behind the brand on TV, print, in-store sampling, on-pack and Wimbledon-themed activity. Britvic says Robinson’s marked “six months of share gain” and in the last twelve weeks of the financial year matched the brand’s historical market share high of two years ago.
In Great Britain, Britvic claims that despite the “challenges” of the Fruit Shoot recall and the decline of the entire stills category by the end of the year, it grew its overall share of the territory’s take-home market.
Britvic is set to merge with AG Barr next year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. If given the green light will create one of Europe’s largest soft drink companies, to be named Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.
It will be led by AG Barr’s chief executive Roger White. Britvic CEO Paul Moody will not be joining the company and it is not yet clear how the management team, including the marketing departments of each business, will be rationalised as a result of the merger.