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VIRGIN REVAMPS SODA CANS, ADDS TWO CITRUS FLAVORS

By Published on .

Just one year after Virgin cola hit U.S. shores, the marketer plans a makeover, with new packaging and two new flavors.

The new cans play up the soda's link to high-profile entrepreneur Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Trading Co., a division of his Virgin Group of Cos., operator of Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Megastores.

Out are images of "real" people -- their names, a cute quote and the date they switched to Virgin cola. Instead, the cans bear the company's trademark, a pin-up girl in a one-piece bathing suit.

There's a quote, but this time it's from Mr. Branson: "I believe that Virgin cola is the best tasting cola around. Enjoy it."

The new flavors move beyond cola, with O'range and Lem'n'Lime.

"We are a serious player in the cola wars, and to seriously compete we had to expand our overall product facings," a spokesman said.

No advertising is expected to tout the new flavors or redesign. Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif., handles the soda's estimated $2 million account.

It's not easy to break into the $56 billion U.S. soda business, but Virgin still believes it has a chance.

"Distribution is still being established," the spokesman said. "We always look to penetrate new markets. Even Richard Branson said this is a long-term

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