Data reveals Lilt’s struggling brand health as the soft drink rebrands as Fanta

According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Fanta’s brand was superior to Lilt’s on all key measures in 2022.

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Lilt had struggled to make any considerable improvement in its brand health over the past decade, data gathered by Marketing Week reveals, as the more than 50-year-old soft drink now undergoes a major transformation.

Parent company Coca-Cola is scrapping the Lilt brand entirely, rebranding the drink as Fanta Pineapple & Grapefruit.

The Lilt brand has been in the United Kingdom and Ireland since the 1970s, with its tagline “totally tropical taste” made famous by its advertising. Notable ads include ‘Here Comes the Lilt Man’ from the 1980s, the main character from which, parodying the milk man, would deliver the drink from his ‘Lilt float’ on the beach.

In the 1990s it was the ‘Lilt Ladies’ Hazel Palmer and Blanche Williams who starred in a series of ads, all of which leaned heavily on humour.

However, in recent years Lilt has failed to keep up with the growth of Coca-Cola’s other drinks brands. At the end of 2022 Fanta was worth £281m, more than 17 times the value of Lilt, according to NielsenIQ. The latter achieved sales of £15.6m in the year to 10 September.

Data from YouGov’s BrandIndex tool shows how Lilt’s brand health has also lagged over the past 10 years. In the year to 12 February 2023, Lilt’s index score – a measure of a brand’s overall health – sat at 7.7, compared to Fanta’s 12.3.

Lilt’s score marks only a marginal improvement since 2013, when the brand scored 7.5. The soft drink’s health dipped notably in 2016 to 3.6, before steadily improving over the subsequent years. Meanwhile, Fanta – which also saw its brand health tumble in 2016 to 4.5 – has improved its score by 3.9 points compared to 2013.

How Lilt’s (red line) and Fanta’s (purple line) brand health scores have changed over the past decade. Source: YouGov’s BrandIndex.

According to BrandIndex, Fanta’s brand was superior to Lilt’s on all key measures in 2022. It scored higher on awareness (94.7 versus 84.7), consumer impression (17 versus 12.1), quality perceptions (13.6 versus 8.3), consideration (17.5 versus 9.7) and purchase intent (3.5 versus 1.1).

Coca-Cola has said Lilt will be replaced with the Fanta alternative from today (14 February) but the taste and ingredients will remain the same.

“Our main priority with this announcement is to reassure Lilt’s loyal fan base that absolutely nothing has changed when it comes to the iconic taste of the drink they know and love,” Fanta brand manager Charlotte Walsham says. “It’s just got itself a new name.”

Following the announcement many took to social media so show their love for the now defunct brand. One user said: “Fanta ‘Grapefruit & Pineapple’ … I’m still going to call it Lilt. Just like I still call the chewy sweets in paper Opal Fruits!”

Another said: “Farewell to Lilt. For some completely pointless reason they are rebranding it … Apparently nothing is allowed to be different these days.”

However, others dismissed the news, claiming the Lilt taste hasn’t been the same since the amount of sugar in the drink was reduced as part of Coca-Cola’s efforts to make healthier products, which came in response to the British Government’s sugar tax.

Lilt’s gradual rebrand to Fanta began in Ireland in 2021, when it was rebranded as a sub-brand of the drink. This was followed in the UK in 2022, with the Lilt branding redesigned in Fanta’s font.



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