Q&A with Innocent marketing director Thomas Delabriere


As Innocent launches a marketing campaign for its new juice range, marketing director Thomas Delabriere talks about his targets to double the size of the brand by 2013, the smoothie-maker’s relationship with Coca-Cola and plans for new products.

What are your personal marketing targets for 2011?

Our objective is to double the size of the company in three years. My target is to grow the size of the brand by increasing penetration by recruiting more people into the brand. Last year we grew penetration from 14% to 17% (according to TNS Worldpanel) and we want to grow that again this year. Secondly, I want to increase the frequency at which people consume our products.

How will you increase frequency?

I have four strategic directions. The first is to communicate on the health and taste benefits our products provide. Secondly, we will launch great innovations into the market. We are also going to talk about our brand to a broader audience, from kids to adults, which will include a school communication programme. And finally, I need to ensure we keep the brand true to its values.

Are you looking to expand the brand into new territories?

International is a priority approach. We already sell in 13 countries and we were the top-selling smoothie brand in Western Europe last year. We are definitely looking to grow in new territories.


Your new orange juice campaign launches today (24 February), what does it involve?

It is a fully-integrated campaign including TV, in-store, outdoor, press and digital. The job of the TV campaign was to say that innocent is now making a natural, tasty orange juice. It features Patrick Stewart who has a great voice. Our last TV campaign featured a smoothie as a superhero, this new ad places the orange juice as the hero.

There are some juice and orange-related puns across the campaign, why use humour?

Humour is part of the brand DNA. Innocent has a very friendly voice and we are very close to our consumers, that will not change however big we get.

Why is moving into the juice category important for Innocent?

According to estimates, 50% of the population buy chilled juice not from concentrate. This means we have lots of new people to bring to this category. We have a great, unique proposition targeting the younger consumer and we think we can drive the market on frequency. Chilled juice is mainly considered as a breakfast product, but if you compare juice to cereal, it’s like chalk and cheese. The frequency is not as big because there is not enough choice, so the Innocent launch will bring much-needed news into the category.

Does it have anything to do with Coca-Cola’s (which has a 58% majority stake in Innocent) aims to grow its orange juice business this year?

We started looking at juice before our link with Coca-Cola, although they are massively behind this launch. We still have a great relationship with Coca-Cola and are very happy with the hands-off approach. The Innocent brand stands alone.

Innocent is launching a new food product in the summer, what qualifies a smoothie company to move into the food category?

Our purpose is to make delicious, natural, healthy food and drinks which help people live well and die old – we are anti-death. We are very strong in the smoothie category and Veg Pot is now a £12m business so extending further into the food category makes sense.

Recently Innocent reduced the amount of recyclable plastic it uses in its products from 100% to 35%, citing an “unpleasant blue tinge” in the fully-recyclable plastic as its reason for the change. Was this a bad move?

We wanted to be completely transparent with our customers. We were the first smoothie company to have 100% recyclable packaging – a great achievement. There is not enough recyclable packaging in the market and we need to be sure our packaging is strong, nice and sustainable. The quality is not good enough at the moment, the blue did not work. The move from 100% to 35% recyclable packaging is temporary. We want to do better as sustainability is core to the brand.

Watch the new “juicy by nature” campaign here



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