Britvic to push adult drinks to tap ‘poorly served’ demographic

Britvic is looking to bring in new consumers across its categories by making a play in adult drinks as it looks to “matter to more people” and become a leader in all demographics.

To this end, the company will launch French brand Teisseire in the UK in February, a premium syrup that can be added to water, alcohol or coffee. The brand, which was established in 1520, currently holds a dominant share of the category in France, according to the company.

The brand will target adults with a premium proposition, as well as a no-sugar variant, as part of the company’s move to tap into the adult soft drinks market, an area which it says is under-represented in terms of share.

The company will also launch J20 Spritz in March, a sparkling version of the popular J20 brand which looks to reach adults. Barwell says Britvic will also look at making its Purdeys and Amé brands more available and visible in the category.

Matt Barwell, CMO of Britvic, told Marketing Week that the move is also an effort to reach an ageing population as well as a demographic that is “poorly served”.

“There is very little for adults to enjoy in the soft drinks market,” he says. “It’s a big opportunity.”

Portfolio “well set up” to capitalise on health changes

Despite its push into the adult soft drinks market, the company will continue to drive its kids and family categories with a refresh of the Robinson’s brand in the spring, which will involve new flavours, new packaging and a new communications platform as well as limited edition bottles to celebrate the brand’s 80th year of sponsoring Wimbledon.

At the same time, Britvic will also de-list the full sugar version of Robinson’s in an effort to tackle obesity, having removed the full sugar variant of Fruit Shoot last year. The company will also launch a no-sugar version of Teisseire at the time of its launch.

“We need to nudge things in the right direction,” Barwell says. “We’ve taken 37% of calories out of our portfolio since 2010, and we will take out a further 20% by 2020.”

He adds that the industry is moving closer to less calorie and less sugar products, which is a complex issue for the company.

“It’s both a threat and an opportunity for us, but our portfolio is well set up to capitalise on that change,” he says.

Barwell points to the success the company has seen with Pepsi Max, its no-sugar, no-calorie variant in its Pepsi cola range.

“It has a simple message and its opportunity for growth continues to be strong,” he says. “However, I believe in freedom of choice, and while we will invest mainly in Pepsi Max we will continue to have all variants in the range.”

New marketing strategy will see more digital spend

The push for the company to expand across categories comes as it is re-aligning its marketing strategy to become more coordinated.

After creating several senior marketing roles last year as part of an effort to grow its brands across the world, in November Britvic introduced a new marketing process that looks to drive better work and higher standards.

“It’s about mattering to more people rather than targeting consumers,” Barwell says. “Soft drinks are a penetration game.”

The strategy will involve a focus on creativity and innovation as well as a push in digital spend, with 15% of media in digital in 2015 compared to 9% last year as the company looks to ramp this up to 25% in 2016.

“It’s about being effective by creating compelling creative platforms and getting our positioning clear,” Barwell says.

In order to become more effective in “marketing in a modern world”, Barwell says the company has hired a new IT director and is recruiting more people across many digital elements of the organisation.

“We’re not where we need to be yet,” he says. “We have an amount of rewiring to do to drive change and win in the marketplace.”

The new marketing strategy and digital push will hopefully arrest sales declines that the company has seen in the first quarter of its financial year.

Britvic’s Q1 trading results, released today (27 January) showed that GB revenue for the twelve weeks to 21 December was down 1.4% against last year due to what the company calls a “competitive promotional environment”, with total group revenue down 0.4% to £304.3m.


Britvic 2015 plans

  • Teisseire: The company will launch the French brand in the UK in February, a premium syrup to be added to water, alcohol or coffee that will be targeted to adults.
  • Tango: A new creative platform for the Tango brand will be released in the coming weeks.
  • Robinson’s: A refresh of Robinson’s in the spring will involve four new flavours (Lemon & Mango, Orange & Raspberry, Apple & Blackcurrant and Orange, Passion Fruit & Pineapple) as well as new packaging and a new communications platform around “evolutions and adapting to changes in taste”.
  • J20 Spritz: A sparkling version of the popular brand with launch in March to further tap into the adult market.
  • Full sugar de-list: Also in March, Britvic will de-list the full sugar version of Robinson’s in an effort to tackle obesity, having removed the full sugar variant of Fruit Shoot last year.
  • 80th Anniversary of Wimbledon sponsorship: Robinson’s will celebrate 80 years of sponsoring Wimbledon in 2015 through limited edition bottles, which will likely also feature across its newly-launched Robinsons Squash’d range.