Liptonice backers forced to rethink product range

One year after launch, iced tea brand Liptonice is going back to the drawing board as its backers, PepsiCo, Brooke Bond and Britvic Soft Drinks, admit they got the formula wrong.

Industry sources say the sparkling soft drink has been reformulated and the packaging redesigned for a relaunch on May 17. The brand will be targeted at a different market. The new version will target 16 to 25s rather than 20 to 34 year-olds.

The lemon-flavoured iced tea was launched last spring via a joint operation between Unilever subsidiary Brooke Bond Foods, PepsiCo and PepsiCo franchise Britvic. All three pledged Liptonice would sell at least 18 million litres in its first year and backed it with a 6m marketing package including a 3.5m TV push through Ogilvy & Mather.

Liptonice has failed to meet its sales targets. According to market research consultancy Zenith International, Liptonice sold 11.25m litres last year, although it did account for 75 per cent of total UK iced tea sales.

According to Zenith chairman Richard Hall, marketing ploys such as giving away cans of iced tea with Brooke Bond tea bags may have backfired for Liptonice. “There seems to be a view in the industry that too close an association with hot tea is not the best way to introduce the concept to the UK,” says Hall.

Liptonice is expected to retain its lemon flavouring but insiders predict new flavours. Pepsi may use its US company The Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership.