Coca-Cola/Disney deal in jeopardy

Coca-Cola Great Britain has axed its drink for toddlers, Winnie The Pooh Roo Juice, putting its partnership with Walt Disney in the UK in jeopardy.

Coca-Cola signed a global deal with Walt Disney in 2001 to develop drinks that tie up with Disney characters. Brands still exist in other territories, but a spokeswoman says there are no plans to launch any new products in the UK. Roo Juice, a juice, water and natural flavourings drink, is aimed at under-fives, but under self-imposed guidelines Coca-Cola does not market to children under 12.

The drink was launched in the UK in July 2002 following the global deal with Disney. There was an initial trial with Tesco before the drink was rolled out to other retailers and Soul was appointed to create advertising.

However, stockists began delisting the product last summer with Boots and Woolworths the last multiples still to carry the line (MW July 22, 2004).

Retailers say that the drink sold poorly. Coca-Cola’s spokeswoman says: “It had a loyal following but found it really hard to survive in a competitive grocery environment.”

She adds that juices are still an important part of Coca-Cola’s range. In the UK it offers Five Alive and speculation persists that it will launch its Minute Maid brand in the UK this year.

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