PEPSI, COKE USHER IN NEW AGE IN SPAIN

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MADRID-After successfully testing a new non-carbonated fruit drink entry in Spain- where Pepsi and Coke have gone head-to-head for the first time in that segment of the New Age category-Pepsi-Cola International is making plans to roll out the Radical Fruit Co.-N.Y. to other countries.

Pepsi is looking at Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America, with the U.S. also a possibility, said Carmen Abril, Pepsico-Espana marketing director.

Response has been "magnificent-three times the forecasts," she said. Testing was done in close cooperation with U.S. headquarters, but the drinks were tailored for Spanish consumers. Most of the experience, however, should serve internationally, since in drinks, "the consumer is rather homogenous," Ms. Abril said.

With the March launch-only just ahead of Coke's Fruitopia entry in April-Radical Fruit's innovations here included a 25%-juice content (one flavor is 19% juice), a wide-mouth glass bottle and jazzy labeling.

Radical Fruit comes in three flavors, Lemon Obsession, Orange Attraction and Tropical Passion.

The New Age category, which includes fruit-based drinks such as Radical Fruit, teas, waters and sports drinks, is one of the fastest growing in the U.S.

Advertising started in April, targeting 15-to-25-year-olds, Ms. Abril said. Bottles and advertising don't mention Pepsi.

While the flavor names and the brand are in English-and ads from Tiempo/ BBDO, Madrid, use some English-each country will adapt or create ads for its market.

Spain was chosen as a pilot because Pepsi's experience in juice drinks here allows it tighter control over manufacturing and distribution.

TV commercials combine animation and live action, playing off a slasher movie theme to show the radical lengths the company goes to for the best fruit.

Besides TV, print, outdoor and point of purchase, Pepsi handed out samples at universities throughout Spain.

Coke also chose Spain as one of the first international markets for Fruitopia. DMB&B, which had not worked here with Coke before, adapted Chiat/Day's kaleidoscope spots for Spain. Coke also kicked off a TV campaign with a three-minute spot on Canal Plus last month.

Market studies for Spain led to changes in bottle size and flavors while flavor names aim for language that works cleverly in Spanish. Plans are to adapt the drinks to local tastes in other countries.

Four flavor blends-banana, citrus, mango and peach, each 10% juice-were developed with help from Minute Maid, said Rafael Fernandez, media relations manager for Coca-Cola Espana.

Neither Coke nor Pepsi can afford a siesta in Spain, however. Rival New Age beverage leader Snapple Beverage Co. has had eight flavors testing in Barcelona and Seville for less than a year and is also looking into expanding its brand here.

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