Vita Coco launches peer-to-peer loyalty scheme to reach new drinkers

Vita Coco is letting online fans gift a carton of the drink with the launch of a peer-to-peer loyalty scheme it hopes will tackle its “incredibly low” household penetration in the UK. 

Vita Coco Summer 2013
Vita Coco lets fans gift a carton of the drink as part of its biggest digital push in the UK.

The “Coco Connect” web app lets users share downloadable vouchers for free 330ml Vita Coco drinks with those yet to try it. The brand hopes about 2 million customers, both existing and new, will use the service over the next two weeks and the company says it could be extended later in the year if successful. 

The app leads the brand’s biggest digital drive in the UK that also includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram promotions. Activity will push Vita Coco’s “let nature do its thing” strapline, first introduced last summer to highlight its health and wellness positioning, alongside a sampling and outdoor push across London.

Giles Brook, chief executive of Vita Coco Europe, says the campaign aims to address the “incredibly low” 0.2 per cent household penetration the brand has in the UK. Converting Vita Coco’s “massive” online following into a platform to drive sales and awareness is key, he adds.

“We have more Twitter followers than Vitamin Water, which is one of the biggest brands the Coca-Cola Company has. Social is key to us reaching that next set of consumers and we feel digital is going to play a key role in how we grow the brand moving forward.”

He adds: “We’re not fully going down the online route because we have an extensive outdoor media campaign spanning around 100 sites. We’re a lifestyle and sports brand and need that hybrid approach between good outdoor and social media [marketing] to maintain that balance.”

Vita Coco expects the campaign to propel UK sales from £36m in 2013 to £70m by the end of the year. European sales excluding the UK are expected to hit £22m in the period. 

The burst of activity sees Vita Coco ramp up efforts to raise the profile of the category at a time when fizzy drinks are coming under renewed fire from health campaigners who blame them for rising obesity levels. The shift to healthier alternatives will push the coconut water category to be worth around £250m in the UK over the next three years, says Brook. It is predicted to hit £100m by the end of 2014, according to Nielsen.

Brook adds: “Today, there are 36 brands in the UK and we have a 91 per cent share. I hope that over the next three years we have around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the category because I’d rather drop share and see good competitors help us push it forward. We can’t do it on our own and need help communicating to consumers the great but natural benefits of the coconut water.”



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