Through their joint venture, Beverage Partners Worldwide, the companies will next month launch Enviga, a sparkling green-tea drink under the Nestea name that they claim is "calorie deficient" rather than calorie-packed, executives told reporters during a briefing this afternoon.
The brand uses a blend of green-tea extracts known for boosting metabolism called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The marketers boasted Enviga has twice the EGCG as leading competitors, no more caffeine than an average cup of coffee and 20% of the daily value of calcium for men and women ages 19 to 50.
"There's calorie, low-calorie, zero-calorie, and now we offer consumers negative-calorie products," said Jason Warner, group marketing director for Beverage Partners Worldwide Americas, which has worked on the brand for the past three-and-a-half years.
Enviga will launch in New York's five boroughs, along with New Jersey and Philadelphia on Nov. 6, backed by a multimedia campaign from agency Anomaly, New York. Sold in the tea aisle for about $1.29, the drink will be packaged in slim 12-ounce cans and will be available in berry, peach and green-tea flavors (a citrus flavor is also slated for some regional markets). It will be available in single-serve, six packs and 12-packs for the club channel.
Eventual global rollout
The national launch is set for Feb. 5. Tests are also running in Australia, Canada, Mexico and eight markets in Europe for an eventual global rollout. Office, San Francisco, developed the packaging.
Rhona Applebaum, chief scientist for Coca-Cola Co., said that extensive scientific studies showed that three cans a day of the drink will burn a net average of 60 to 100 calories. The company conducted a double-blind, placebo study with Switzerland's University of Lausanne and referred to four other existing studies supporting the green-tea and caffeine claims. The companies didn't test the benefits of a single can, which, based on the three-can result would seem to have a negligible net calorie burn.
To set itself apart from the onslaught of silver-bullet diet products that Mr. Warner said are often "fat-based, overhyped and underdeliver," the marketers see Enviga as a way to "set the standard" on weight-management products. "When you look on the internet or made-for-TV statements that are out there, it is concerning to us that we make sure ... there isn't any magic bullet out there," said Ms. Applebaum.
Executives wouldn't divulge the campaign's tagline or positioning, but said elements will include sampling, couponing, out of home, print and interactive. Creative will reflect Enviga's significance as a totally new category. Its logo incorporates a flame as the dot over the "i" in Enviga, which it calls the "calorie burner." The copyline is "invigorate your metabolism." Other package copy rounds out the health message, stating, "By giving your body a little extra boost, Enviga is a simple and positive step you can take toward a healthy and balanced lifestyle."
While admitting that there are other products on the market from smaller players, Coke and Nestle executives emphasized the time and energy they put toward getting Enviga right. They conducted four rounds of research across 45 consumer groups and seven quantitative studies to ensure the product scored well and that the product's claims were properly communicated.
Elite FX, the makers of Celsius, which claims to be first to market with a calorie-burning soda, says it has research backing its science while competitors Fuze and Skinny Water have reportedly not done so.
Like Enviga, Celsius uses the green-tea extract EGCG, as well as ginger, vitamins, chromium and calcium, and claims that research supports that it raises metabolism enough to burn as much as 77 calories. The marketer said it presented results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study at the International Society of Sports Nutrition in June 2005, before the product launched.
"Our original objective was to bring health and nutrition to the soft-drink category, which we believe is long overdue," Steve Haley, president of Elite FX, said in a statement released today. "Consumers continue to want a refreshing beverage, but they are also demanding functional benefits and a healthier product and Celsius delivers on both fronts."
Paramount to Coke and Nestle's communications plan is balancing its "aggressive" functional claims for Enviga with "responsible" messaging to manage consumer expectations about the product. For example, executives said that the product could burn more calories if more than three cans are consumed, but that would not be cited in packaging claims.
"This is not a plan or a diet pill. No magic or exercise replacement," said Deborah Roberts, senior brand manager for Coca-Cola North America. "This is about the little steps you take every day in order to have a more balanced lifestyle. [It's for] consumers who think of health and wellness as a lifelong habit as opposed to instant results."