Virgin Cola breaks first French campaign

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PARIS -- Virgin has launched its first TV campaign for Virgin Cola in France, where it has been testing the soft drink at the retail chain Monoprix for a year. Since June, the retailers Leclerc, Cora, Syteme U and Prisunic have also stocked the cola. Virgin Cola is not yet available at the major retailers Carrefour, Auchan and Promodes.

The French cola market is one of the few around the world in which Coke has a runaway lead over Pepsi: 80% versus 10% to 12%, although Pepsi claims that it recently bumped up its market share by 2% following a BBDO campaign featuring the British pop group the Spice Girls.

Virgin is relying on its high name awareness among French youth due to its five Virgin Megastore record shops in France. It's also 5% to 10% cheaper than Coke. In just a year and without any promotion, Virgin Cola now accounts for 10% by volume of all cola sales at Monoprix.

Virgin is using in France a TV campaign that ran in the U.K. up until July that was directed by Jhoan Kamitz and handled by London agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. Virgin Cola's "Unreal campaign" parodies conventional cola advertising. British entrepreneur Richard Branson introduced Virgin Cola to the U.K. in 1994.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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