Archive for the ‘Beverages – Soft Drinks’ Category

Cheers: Does downing a nightcap help you sleep?

February 8, 2013

According to

Despite urban legends to the contrary, drinking doesn’t lead to a better night’s sleep.

Having a few drinks may help you fall asleep, but that deep slumber continues for only part of the night.

After that point, getting shut-eye becomes more difficult … and there’s a serious downside.


Researchers analyzed … more than 500 people who drank low, moderate or high amounts of alcohol before going to bed, and underwent testing while they snoozed in a sleep lab.

Here’s what they found ..


For Sale: Treadmill … Coke says to laugh off the calories …

January 16, 2013

Punch line: Coca-Cola is defending itself with a new TV Campaign that  focuses on the health benefits of Coca-Cola’s products. 

Say, what?

* * * * *
Excerpted from’s, “Coca-Cola Addresses Obesity Critics With U.S. TV Campaign”

The Coca-Cola Company on Monday evening began airing a two-minute spot on U.S. cable news networks.

The subject, in a first for the company: America’s obesity debate, in a bid to defend its brands ahead of looming beverage size controls.

Coca-Cola Coming Together Video

The world’s biggest beverage company debuted the “Coming Together” commercial in hopes of flexing its marketing muscle in the debate over sodas and their impact on public health.

The theme ties into the company’s “Live Positively” and “Open Happiness” campaigns.

Another ad, which will run later this week during American Idol and before the Super Bowl, is much more reminiscent of the catchy, upbeat advertising people have come to expect from Coca-Cola.

It features a montage of activities that add up to burning off the ‘140 happy calories’ in a can of Coke: walking a dog, dancing, sharing a laugh with friends and doing a victory dance after bowling a strike.

The ads are intended to address “confusion” about the number of calories in soda.


Think “sharing a laugh with friends” can really burn off 140 calories?

Beats the old treadmill, for sure.

Edit by BJP

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How many flavors of Red Bull are there?

November 23, 2012

Answer: 3 more than there used to be.

Punch line: Red Bull is riding the stratos wave, launching 3 new flavors for Red Bull fans.  7-Eleven will carry the new items exclusively until they are released more broadly later this year.

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Excerpted from branchannel’s, “Trio of New Red Bull Flavors Launching Exclusively at 7-Eleven”

More than 8 million YouTube viewers watched daredevil Felix Baumgartner plummet at the speed of sound from 24 miles above Earth to a lonely spot in New Mexico. And you can bet that every one of them noticed the Red Bull logo plastered on his spacesuit thanks to the company’s major financial investment in making the space drop occur.

It was a giant step for sports sponsorships, one that likely inspired more than a few of those watching at home to sample the brand. Now Red Bull is offering up a few more flavors to help folks feel a rush of their own. However, if consumers want to have a taste of the new flavor and can’t wait till next spring when they are released on a wider scale, they’ll have to go to a 7-Eleven. The convenience store chain has signed a deal to become the sole distributor of Red Bull’s first three flavor extensions, through the end of the year.


Energy drinks were a $9 billion business in the U.S. last year, in no small part due to the partnership between Red Bull and 7-Eleven. Said a 7-Eleven rep, “As our guests look to refresh and re-fuel morning, noon and night, enthusiastic Red Bull fans can get their first taste of these new flavors only at our stores. The Editions from Red Bull will launch nationally in March, so we know Red Bull lovers will be eager to get their hands on them early.”

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Let’s go throw down a couple brewskies …

October 12, 2012

Beer sales are rising for the first time since 2008 in another sign that consumers — particularly young men—are slowly but surely emerging from the recession.


Much of the rebound is being driven by small-batch “craft” brewers, reflecting shifting tastes and forcing dominant players Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors to increasingly borrow from upstarts’ playbooks.

Big brewers also are rolling out alternative malt beverages after liquor companies swiped drinkers.

Americans are branching out from traditional American lager to sample ales, porters and wheat beers from fast-growing small brewers.

The move to craft-style beers could limit consumption.

In addition to charging higher prices, many specialty brews have a heavier taste and higher alcohol content than mainstream beers, making them less likely to be guzzled in rapid-fire.

“People will go out and pound Coronas or Miller Lites, but they’ll sip craft beer.”.

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Death of the free refill?

June 6, 2012

Certainly you’ve heard about Mayor Bloomberg’s action to ban take-out soft drinks bigger than 16 ounces.

Many folks have pointed out the obvious idiocies, e.g. will folks be allowed to buy more than one 16 ounce soft drink … or will their be a limit of one?


I’m worried about a bigger issue: what happens to free refills?

Surely “infinite” is bigger than 16 ounces.

Will restaurants be required to stop giving free refills?

I’ve always put the free refill on the list with electricity and the 3-points line as the greatest innovations ever.

Banning free refills would get me to take to the streets, for sure.

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Industry profitability?

While on the subject. I wonder what will happen to industry profitability.

The biggest sizes are the biggest profit generators … cups are a big part of the cost structure and cup costs are fairly constant across sizes … the soda itself costs only pennies … and the ice is essentially free.

So, making folks downsize will certainly hurt margins … unless, of course, prices are jacked up … which they will be.

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Cola – not OK, weed – OK

Only in NYC

According to the NYTimes

The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city’s top prosecutors  endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

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Great moments in innovation: “Ice cold beer” … literally!

April 12, 2012

Punch line: Japanese beer company Kirin offers 30 minutes of ice-cold beer, with its new frozen foam.



Excerpted from “Kirin Launches Beer With Frozen Foam To Keep Your Drink Cool

Japanese beer company Kirin has unveiled a new beer with frozen foam in the restaurants of Tokyo this month.

The variant, called “Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft,” features cold Kirin beer topped with frozen beer foam created using a process called Frozen Agitation, wherein air is blown into the beer as it is stirred and chilled.

The foam is very cold at -5 degrees Celsius, which, according to Kirin, can help keep the beer below it ice-cold for roughly thirty minutes …

Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft is available in Tokyo for a trial run and will be launched throughout Japan by May.

Edit by KJM

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Wanna pop a Duff’s brewski … just like Homer Simpson?

March 12, 2012

Punch line: Ever wish you could be Homer Simpson, drinking a Duff beer on the couch? Well, you’re in luck! UK consumers can now purchase a 6 pack of Legendary Duff Beer for £12.50.

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Excerpted from “Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer Goes On Sale In The UK

The fictional beer enjoyed by Homer on The Simpsons television show is now a reality for consumers in the UK. The Legendary Duff Beer, a premium German pilsner with “a crisp, light refreshing taste,” can be bought online and delivered to locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The lager, brewed by Eschweger Klosterbrauerei, is available in cans and bottles featuring the iconic red, white and black packaging design. 1 can or bottle costs £2.99 ($4.72) and a 6 pack is £12.50 ($19.74). The UK partner and distributor for The Legendary Duff Beer, Duff Beer Distribution, writes:

Having seen the great success the beer enjoyed in Europe and the rest of the world we have made it our goal to ensure everyone in the UK market cannot be without a Duff!

Edit by KJM

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Your Diet Coke bottle is … well, quite chic!

March 6, 2012

TakeAway: Diet Coke partners with Diane von Fürstenberg to design new packaging for its Diet Coke bottle. Proceeds from the sales will go towards the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Diet Coke + Fashion + Health? Hmm…

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Excerpted from “Diane von Fürstenberg Redesigns Diet Coke


Proceeds from the sales of Diane von Fürstenberg’s Diet Coke collection will go towards the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Although there’s nothing new about celebrity bottles these days, we think the fashion designer has a fresh approach on an aging marketing gimmick – plus the charity angle is interesting (if a little ironic considering the discussion about the healthiness of diet soda).

Edit by KJM

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Coke bails after taking the Nestea plunge …

January 31, 2012

TakeAway: American consumer preferences are shifting away from cola to healthier options.  So, Coca-Cola is  bailing from its partnership with Nestle.  Coca-Cola will no longer market Nestea-branded products.  Instead, it will focus on marketing its own RTD tea beverages …

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Excerpted from, “Tea Party Ends for Coca-Cola and Nestea

Coca-Cola and Nestle are no longer taking the Nestea Plunge together in America. The two multinationals are dissolving their Beverage Partners Worldwide group, which producesand markets Nestea-branded products, in the United States, so they can each market their own beverages.

Thanks to America’s sudden fascination with healthy living, cola sales are going down, so Coke is looking to diversify its offerings in the tea-and-juice department.

Forbes sees the two companies redirecting the partnership’s efforts on Canada and Europe, along with plans to “enter into a license agreement with Nestle in Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

This likely means that Coca-Cola will put more energy into its own ready-to-drink tea products such as Gold Peak iced teas, CSP notes. “The company recently also purchased organic tea maker Honest Tea and will soon launch Fuze teas, a fusion of tea and juice flavors, to replace Nestea,” CSP notes.

Vending Times points out that PepsiCo, Coca-Cola’s archrival, “dominates the category with its Lipton RTD teas under a joint venture with Unilever NV.”

Edit by KJM

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Ditch the Red Bull … “We Drink Water”

January 23, 2012

Punch line: It’s cool to drink water again. Snowboarders get fed up with energy drinks over-branding of the snowboarder market, and now endorse water. Two pro snowboarders create “drink water” branded apparel line with 10% of proceeds going to

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Excerpted from, “Snowboarders Refusing Energy-Drink Money to Push Water”


… Industry leaders Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar have sunk some serious marketing dollars into the “international sports market, sponsoring athletes, events and video shoots in motorsports, surfing, snowboarding and skiing, mixed martial arts, and others,” according to the New York Times. Logos for the brands are appearing on athlete apparel and gear.

Two professional snowboarders had enough last year and started to make their own statement with a campaign, called “We Drink Water“, against the energy-drink companies, including creating their own non-logo logo, “Drink Water,” on their boards. The slogan has taken off and now the two snowboarders, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith, have a website selling T-shirts ($30), sweatshirts ($60), jackets ($65), and sets of stickers and pins ($10) …

And the two fellas are putting their money where their mouth is as well, by donating 10% of all revenue from the apparel to the nonprofit founded by Matt Damon,, which works to get clean water and sanitation in Africa, southern Asia and Central America. Fox and Smith will head off to Asia this month to snowboard and raise awareness of the Drink Water campaign. Along the way, the Times points out, they’ll compete in an event sponsored by Red Bull.

What’s their beef with energy drinks? It “stemmed from the drinks’ ingredients,” the Times reports, “which in addition to sugar and caffeine include guarana (a plant that contains caffeine), taurine (an amino acid) and ginseng, as well as the size of doses found in servings.”

However, the Drink Water campaign has a long way to go before it washes away any bit of the energy-drink market…. as “energy drink sales increased by 12.5 percent during four weeks ended on Nov. 26, with Rockstar (up 30 percent) and Red Bull (15 percent) on top,” the Times reports …

Edit by KJM

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Quick: How much tea do Americans drink?

January 12, 2012

No, it’s not a case interview question, but it could be. 

Answer: In 2010, 3 billion gallons of tea was consumed by 154 million folks in the U.S.  That’s about half of the U.S. population drinking a bit under a half-gallon per week per drinker..

Some other factoids from the Tea Association of the USA:

  • tIn 2010, the US imported more tea than the UK
  • Southerners and Northeasterners are the most likely tea drinkers.
  • The split is about 80-20 between black and green tea.
  • The split is about 85-15 between iced and hot.
  • So-called herbal teas aren’t really teas … they’re leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers.

Recent reports have touted tea’s health benefits, especially cardiac health:

“People who drink more tea do appear to have less risk of heart disease, and for those who have developed some cardiac event like a heart attack, those who are tea drinkers seem to have a lower incidence of a second event.”

Researchers suspect that natural components in tea, particularly a class of polyphenol antioxidants known as flavonoids, are responsible for tea’s health benefits

How much tea is needed for good health?

Researchers say 3 to 5  cups per day  is where you start to see benefits.

Tips for maximum health benefits:

  • Ready-to-drink and instant teas are diluted, so you’re not getting as strong a dose of flavonoids as you would from a cup of freshly brewed hot tea,.
  • For optimum flavonoids, drink tea soon after it’s brewed.
  • When you add sugar or buy it sweetened, you turn a zero-calorie beverage that’s great for hydrating the body and has half the caffeine of coffee into a drink loaded calories.

Excerpted from, “Reading the tea leaves is easy: A brew can be beneficial

Edit by KJM

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Looks like a K-cup, works like a K-cup … a patent-dodging imitator goes after Green Mountain

January 11, 2012

Punch line: Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s  K-cups seem to be everywhere these days.  A nice little patent-protected moneymaker for GMCR.  That is, until a small company found a way around GMCR’s patents … or at least, thinks that it did.

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Excerpted from Investorsplace. com: “The No-Name Private Company Sticking It to Green Mountain

Imagine you’re Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Your Keurig single-cup coffee brewer is wildly successful, and you recently struck deals with Starbucks to carry the Seattle coffee giant’s grounds as exclusive cups for the machine.

Shares of GMCR stock are up 700% since 2009 and have more than doubled since Jan. 1, 2011.

Green Mountain Coffee revenue has increased from about $340 million in fiscal 2007 to a forecast of $2.7 billion for fiscal 2011!

It’s good to be Green Mountain. Right?

Well, now imagine that after all this success at GMCR, a tiny family company in California is moving in on your turf.

Not only is it imitating your ideas — but it actually is using the fancy Keurig machines Green Mountain produces as a selling point!

It would be frustrating. It would be infuriating. But it appears to be completely legal.

Here’s the score:

Rogers Family Co., a coffee roaster and distributor based in Lincoln, Calif., has developed single-cup pods completely compatible with Keurig’s famous coffee brewer.

The closely-held company apparently sidesteps the patent protection of Keurig’s K-Cups because it uses a mesh screen on the bottom of the pots instead of plastic.

Not only does this allow the family-operated business to enter into the booming Keurig market, but it could give Rogers a chance at making a big splash with perhaps the cheapest brew out there.

A 12-pack of Rogers Family’s cups will have a recommended retail price of $6.99 and will be distributed to supermarkets including Costco, Safeway  and SuperValu.

By contrast, Dunkin’ Donuts branded K-Cups sell for $11.99 per 12-pack.

Not likely that Green Mountain will take this one sitting down.

Cue the patent attorneys … this one’s not over.

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Give me a grande OJ, please.

December 16, 2011

TakeAway: Starbucks is betting on their multiple locations and recent acquisition of a juice making company to become player in the CPG industry.

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Excerpt from WSJ: “Latest Starbucks Concoction: Juice”

Starbucks Corp. is buying a small, upscale juice maker Evolution Fresh — a deal that shows how serious the company is about transforming itself into a consumer products player.

Many packaged-food and beverage manufacturers have struggled to boost profit margins amid high marketing and commodities costs, and some brands have been pushed off store shelves entirely.

Starbucks’s business model will help it succeed where others have failed, because it can test new products in its stores before introducing them to supermarkets.

Starbucks also may not have to spend as much money on traditional marketing and customer acquisition as other food manufacturers, since it can use its stores as advertisements.

Getting a product in front of the 60 million customers who frequent Starbucks stores around the world each week is equivalent to airing a commercial on the top three television shows weekly.

Edit by ARK

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Now what happens at the club … really stays at the club.

December 2, 2011

TakeAway: Norte, a South American beer, is taking a new approach to protect its brand by protecting its customers from being in unbecoming pictures that could end up on the web.

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Excerpt From AdAge: “An ‘Intelligent Beer Cooler’ Will Destroy Dangerous Photos of You”

To protect its consumers from being branded as “dirty old men” or “floozies,” Norte Beer and agency Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi recently handed out “intelligent beer coolers” throughout bars in Argentina.

The beer cooler is equipped with Photoblocker, a camera-flash sensor that triggers its own flash in response when a picture is being taken. The larger flash, in effect, destroys the picture. And the evidence.

Edit by ARK

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Ditch your whiskey … chug a beer (faster)

November 14, 2011

TakeAway: MillerCoors is trying to boost sales and prevent millennial’s from switching to spirits with new package features and labels.

Ken’s Take: Best new feature is  “taste flow” can …  for faster chugging.

Imagine if Colt 45 were to put its 40-ouncer in a taste flow can … then, you’d have some serious innovation.

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Excerpt From Adage: “MillerCoors Seeks Rebound After ‘Toughest Quarter as a Company’”

MillerCoors is banking on new packaging and advertising to help beat back what the brewer characterized as the “toughest headwinds we’ve seen as a company.”

Changes include new “taste flow” cans for Miller Lite that  feature a second opening on the can top designed to increase airflow and reduce “glug.” The optional new hole can be opened with a key or other object.

The growth of spirits brands is a new threat to beer, especially among younger drinkers.

“All of our various agencies have been looking at the mindset of millennial drinkers and what’s driving their switching [to spirits],”

Besides taste-flow cans, M-C is rebranding the low-calorie MGD 64 brand as “Miller 64” with new black-and-red color scheme, replacing the white-labeled cans and bottles now on shelves.

The brewer is also giving a different look to Miller Genuine Draft with new, all-black labels.

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Chasin’ the ladies … ditch the wine, pour the whiskey.

November 10, 2011

Take Away: Jim Beam looks to boost its market share by diversifying its product portfolio with lighter, fruiters drinks aimed at women. Jimmy hopes to drive new in-home occasions with females, tapping into the ‘ladies night-in’ concept.

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Excerpted from, “Jim Beam pulls a gender bender

… After 216 years of catering to guys’ guy, with tattooed singer Kid Rock as a pitchman — Jim Beam whiskey is now chasing women.

Two years ago, 100 percent of our marketing was geared to men,”

Beam  is now touting women-friendly Courvoisier cognac infused with red wine, tart Pucker vodka, and low-calorie Skinnygirl-brand cocktails … trying to reach female consumers with lighter or fruitier quaffs they can consume outside of bars and restaurants.…

* * * * *

The gender-bending marketing shift happened almost by accident.

In 2009 the distiller introduced a black cherry-infused version of Jim Beam called Red Stag and signed Kid Rock to pitch the product.

As sales took off, Beam discovered that women were buying the sweeter concoction at almost three times the rate at which they typically bought bourbon.

Further research revealed what the company marketing executives came to call the “girlfriend connectionWomen tend to drink with other women or in a very social setting.”

“We wanted to understand the emotional reasons why women drink wine or spirits.”

While women make up almost half of spirits drinkers, they consume just 25%  of the spirits sold — far less than their 58% of wine consumption,

“We started to understand how to move that wine occasion to a spirits occasion”

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Sales of Beam’s Sauza tequila also benefited from the women’s focus.

About 57 percent of the tequila sold in the U.S. is mixed in margaritas,

Two-thirds of those margaritas are consumed by women. Yet tequila marketers always targeted men.

Sauza began marketing itself around the notion of a ladies’ night in,” hosting 1,000 in-home margarita parties and advertising on Food Network (SNI). …  the company teamed up with restaurants to brand so-called “Sauza-Ritas.”

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The bottom line: Beam is rolling out drinks targeted at women to fuel sales in the $19.2 billion spirits business, which grew 2.3 percent last year.

Edit by KJM

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Grab your wallet … here comes Starbuck’s in a K-cup.

September 2, 2011

Punch line: First VIA. Now the K cup. Starbucks deepens its entry into the near $2 billion single-cup coffee market through a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee.

Excerpted from WSJ, “Starbucks coffee to be offered in Keurig K-Cup Packs in November”

Last year, Starbucks entered the single cup coffee market with the launch of VIA Ready Brew.

In November 2011, Starbucks coffee will be sold in Green Mountain Coffee’s Keurig K-Cup single-serve packs in grocery stores and specialty retailers in the U.S. …

The agreement provides for the manufacturing, marketing and selling of Starbucks and Tazo-branded K-Cup portion packs throughout the U.S. and Canada …

Also, Starbucks ended speculation that it will debut its own single-cup brewer, though it hasn’t ruled out such plans in the future.

Edit by KJM

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Pepsi decides to focus on, well, Pepsi …

June 30, 2011

Ken’s Take: Indra Nooyi — PepsiCo’s CEO — is an Obama fav because she pushes healthier foods (even healthier than sugar-water and corn chips ?) and charity causes.

Bottlers ask “Is she ashamed of selling carbonated sugar water?”

Investors and industry insiders are concerned that her push into healthier brands have distracted the company from some core products.

When flagship Pepsi-Cola dropped to number 3 – behind Coke and Diet Coke – even Ms. Nooyi had to take notice.

Her plan: flashier containers and a summer ad campaign featuring Santa.

Might work …

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Excerpted from the WSJ:

Snack-food and beverage giant PepsiCo is launching the first new advertising campaign for its flagship Pepsi-Cola in three years—offering one of the most visible signs PepsiCo is throwing new weight behind its biggest brand after it sank to No. 3 in U.S. soda sales last year, trailing not only Coke but Diet Coke.

Ceding the top two spots to rival Coca-Cola Co. marked a huge embarrassment in a cola war that traces its roots to the 19th century.

PepsiCo is launching its first ad campaign in three years with a spot that focuses on its Pepsi-Cola. “Summer Time Is Pepsi Time” featuring Santa on vacation.

PepsiCo says it plans to spend about 30% more this year on TV advertising for its North American beverages, with soda a big focus.

As recently as 2005, PepsiCo spent $348 million on soda ads in the U.S., almost as much as Coke, which spent $377 million.

But by last year, the company had more than halved its spending to $153 million, while Coca-Cola spent $253 million, according to Nielsen Co., which tracks advertising.

* * * * *

In late 2008, Pepsi implemented a costly overhaul of all brands, that were looking “tired on the shelf.”

PepsiCo launched new graphics for all the big beverage brands and new packaging for more than 1,200 individual products, an unusually ambitious redesign.

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Take that, Starbucks … McDonalds coffee drinkers are more loyal.

April 27, 2011

TakeAway: A new study found that fickle coffee drinkers are more loyal to Mickey D’s than they are to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. 

Winning customers and keeping them loyal is increasingly important for restaurant chains in the U.S. With little room for expansion, difficulty attracting diners hurt by the economic downturn and pressure from rising commodity costs, competitors are focused on battling for market share.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Tracking the Loyalty of Coffee Drinkers By Julie Jargon, April 14, 2011

The contest for coffee drinkers intensified about three years ago, when McDonald’s introduced specialty coffee drinks nationwide.

Now, in addition to Egg McMuffins and hash browns, McDonald’s customers can order cappuccinos, lattes and mochas, while Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have added a variety of breakfast foods to their menus.

Coffee sales at Starbucks, which garners the bulk of its revenue from beverages, still outstrip those at McDonald’s, which claims 6% of its U.S. revenue from coffee drinks.

McDonald’s may be more attractive because it generally offers lower prices than its rivals.

For example, in Chicago McDonald’s charges $1 for any size of brewed coffee, while the smallest size at Dunkin’ costs 75 cents more, and 50 cents more at Starbucks.

Edit by AMW 

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Carlsberg Beer: “Brand recognition is good, but sales are better” … call in the brand repo guys

April 19, 2011

TakeAway: Carlsberg Beer is repositioning its brand and widening its distribution channels to boost sales in the competitive beer market.

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Excerpted from, “Carlsberg calls for New Brand Positioning,” by Barry Silverstein, April 5, 2011

Carlsberg, arguably one of the world’s premium beer brands, is getting its most significant makeover since the beer’s origination in 1847…

In the beer category, the world’s four largest brewers account for over half the global market for beer. Denmark’s Carlsberg is number four, behind Anheuser-Busch InBev, SAB Miller, and Heineken…

Khalil Younes, SVP of Global, Sales, Marketing and Innovation, says, “Carlsberg is a fantastic brand, but the brand has even more potential that can be cultivated…

Carlsberg is introducing a new tagline that the company says will celebrate the brand’s heritage and values, while connecting it with today’s “active, adventurous” generation of beer drinkers.

The brand proposition encourages consumers to ‘step up and do the right thing,” rewarding themselves with a Carlsberg for their deeds. Hence the tagline: “That calls for a Carlsberg.”…

The Carlsberg logo…has been refreshed and modernized. The Danish Royal crown has been made more simple and distinctive. The dominant green has been made more vibrant.

The brand’s logo now carries three elements: the Brewer’s Star, the Hope Leaf, and the inclusion of “Copenhagen 1847,” indicating where and when the beer was first brewed… New packaging is currently being rolled out this year across all 140 markets…

Carlsberg’s CEO says that while Carlsberg’s famous green logo is known all over the world, its sales simply do not measure up to its brand recognition.

“Although international recognition is good, it is not enough. We are investing significantly in the Carlsberg brand, widening our distribution channels and making every effort to get closer to our customers and consumers.”

The company says “by 2015, Carlsberg anticipates that the Carlsberg brand will have doubled its profits.”

Really? Well if it happens, that definitely calls for a Carlsberg.

Edit by KJM


Pepsi hypes social media … as share slides

March 30, 2011

There’s a nagging question: how to quantify the ROI of social marketing, and the impact on the bottom line.

Pepsi diverted its Super Bowl ad budget to its “Refresh crowdsourcing initiative” — an ongoing corporate citizenship effort that was cited by Ad Age as a factor in why Pepsi has slipped to third place behind Coke and Diet Coke in the US.

Pepsi’s argument: you’re either on the digital train or you’ll get left behind.

According to PepsiCo’s Director of Digital and Social Media:

  • Technology affecting our lives is nothing new. Once clocks were invented, we began living our lives by the clock.
  • There have been more apps downloaded since apps began than all the music downloaded from iTunes.
  • Kids are “addicted” to the iPad and think all screens are touch screens
  • Grandparents now have relationships with their grandchildren on Skype and Facebook.

Excerpted from: BrandChannel, PepsiCo Pumps Up Digital Fitness, March 24, 2011

Diet Coke smacks Pepsi …

March 18, 2011

Punch line: Coke #1, Diet Coke #2, Pepsi #3, Diet Pepsi ?

According to the WSJ …

U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday.

Occupying the top two rankings marks a historic win for Coca-Cola in its decades-old rivalry with PepsiCo, which has seen its market share slip in recent years and is trying to retool its marketing.

Pepsi-Cola commanded only a slight lead over Diet Coke in 2009, when each brand had slightly less than a 10% market share among carbonated soft drinks.

That year, regular Coke won the cola wars with a 17% market share.

But market-share data is expected to confirm Diet Coke pulled ahead in 2010.

PepsiCo made a big bet in 2010, when it didn’t market its flagship cola on the Super Bowl or in other TV spots.

Instead, it launched the Refresh Project, an online charitable-giving program that disbursed $20 million in donations “for refreshing ideas that change the world.”

Increasing the stakes, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo also spent billions of dollars last year to acquire their largest independent U.S. bottlers in a bid to bring drinks to stores more quickly.

WSJ, Diet Coke Wins Battle in Cola Wars, March 17, 2011

What’s your favorite: Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?

February 14, 2011

A Rasmussen Reports survey finds ….

  • 62% of Adults say they drink coffee
  • 35% say they don’t touch the stuff

Of those Americans who do drink coffee …

  • 23% say they are more likely to buy it from Starbucks
  • 22% opt for  a convenience store
  • 22% opt for a local coffee shop
  • 14% get their coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts
  • 15% say they purchase it somewhere else.

Of coffee-drinking Americans …

  • 57% have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Dunkin’ Donuts (20% Very Favorable, 22% unfavorable)
  • 49% regard Starbucks at least somewhat favorably (14% Very Favorable, 35%% unfavorable)
  • 71% of adults generally like the brew they make at home more than the kind they buy in a store or restaurant
  • 23% like the kind they buy away from home better
  • 63% think the coffee they buy in a store or restaurant is overpriced 

By the demos …

  • Adults over 40 are more likely to drink coffee
  • Adults under 30 are far more likely to buy coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Women have a higher opinion of Starbucks than men do.
  • Those who earn $60,000 or more a year like Starbucks more than those who earn less.
  • Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to buy coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Sun Drop taking aim at Mountain Dew

December 21, 2010

TakeAway: Sun Drop’s owner is taking direct aim at Mountain Dew, the fourth-most popular soda in the U.S. after Coke, Pepsi and Diet Coke.   

Mountain Dew dominates the “citrus” category with an 84.3% share, heavily marketed by Pepsi to teens through sponsorships of extreme sports and through advertising that’s embedded into videogames.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Bigger Splash Planned for a Niche Citrus Soda” By Valerie Bauerlein, December 9, 2010

Sun Drop – which has been around since 1928 – has a rabid following in the handful of mainly Southern states where it’s currently sold. The drink was once pitched by the Nas car legend Dale Earnhardt. Families have shipped it off to soldiers serving in Afghanistan; fans swap recipes for holiday turkey with Sun Drop glaze. Made with orange juice and packing more caffeine than Mountain Dew, it is sometimes used as a mixer with hard liquor.

Its expansion is part of Dr Pepper Snapple’s strategy to fortify consumer interest in flavored sodas, a non-cola segment of the soft drink industry in which the company specializes. Cola sales have fallen to 55.4% of the U.S. soda market in 2009 from 60.5% in 1999, according to Beverage Digest, an industry publication. At the same time, sales of Dr Pepper, Crush, and other brands Dr Pepper Snapple owns have grown.

To reach Sun Drop’s target market of 15- to 17-year-olds, Dr Pepper Snapple developed a revenue-sharing agreement with Viacom Inc.’s MTV network. MTV’s new Scratch marketing arm has designed the drink’s advertising and image, down to a redesign of the can that will be appear in January. The network also will feature Sun Drop in MTV programming, including reality shows such as “The Real World.”

Some analysts have cooled to Dr Pepper Snapple shares, saying the company has improved operations but has little prospect for growth, since the company long ago sold the rights to its brands internationally.

The company said it sees potential nonetheless in the growing appetite for its flavored drinks because carbonated soft drinks is a fairly stagnant, slightly declining category.

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Millennials say “red” or “white” … or a Miller Lite

December 7, 2010

TakeAway: 70 million millennials’ (loosely defined as those born between 1980 and 2000) taste for adventure, quirkiness and convenience will drive the market in the coming decade.

They are taking up wine at an earlier age than Gen X-ers and will buy wine just about anywhere – including the corner convenience store.

Moreover, 20 million of them have yet to turn 21, meaning they will become an even more powerful force. 

Experts say millennials, as opposed to other generations, have no fear of asking for wine advice, but a lot of them seek it from Facebook friends and on Twitter – which is leading winemakers to invest in social media.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Millennials: the Great White Hope for Wine Industry” By E.J. Schultz, December 6, 2010

Wine marketers have only recently started zeroing in on the market, as opposed to other lifestyle brands which have been tracking the generation for many years.  The most recent player is 7-Eleven, which convened a focus group of millennials before launching its latest line of proprietary wines about two weeks ago. The brand, called Cherrywood Cellars, is priced at $7.99 to $8.99 to lure young adult drinkers whom the convenience store chain says might be watching their wallets more closely than Gen X-ers and baby boomers during the economic downturn.

Although beer remains the beverage of choice for millennials, accounting for 42% of their alcoholic drinks, wine captures 20% — up from 13% for Gen Xers when they were a similar age 10 years ago, according to Nielsen. Drinkers tend to shift to spirits and wine as they get older. If that trend holds, wine will account for 26% of all alcoholic drinks consumed by all U.S. generations in 10 years, up from 24% today, while beer will fall from 41% to 38%, according to Nielsen.

The test for marketers is to gain loyalty from young drinkers whose tastes are only now emerging. For some wine companies, that means putting members of the generation in charge of their brands. At Treasury Wine Estates in Napa, for instance, a 26-year-old is a member of a team of 20- and 30-somethings planning the national launch early next year of Sledgehammer, which is targeting the male millennial market.  Marketed as a “no-fuss” wine, the brand “eschews really traditional wine speak” like “this smells of cherries and berries and that type of thing.”  But the wine will also seek to subtly educate the new generation of wine drinkers, possibly using booklets of wine facts presented in a way that’s “funny and sarcastic.”

Some companies have formed special millennial divisions, such as The Wine Group, maker of Franzia, whose Underdog Wine Merchants unit is enjoying big success with Cupcake Vineyards. The brand was the 14th-best-selling wine for the four-week period ending Oct. 31, with sales jumping 250%.

Still, marketers risk overplaying their hand if they reach out too aggressively to the generation, known for its suspicion of overt selling tactics. For instance, some industry executives are noticing a backlash against trendy, edgier wine labels.

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McCafé Perks Up Sales

November 24, 2010

TakeAway:  The move into premium coffee illustrates McDonald’s ability to reinvent itself and appeal to consumers across the spectrum – and boost sales.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “McCafé” By Maureen Morrison, November 15, 2010

McDonald’s has had coffee on its menu since the early 1980s, with as many as 60 different coffee blends being used in the restaurants.

But then McDonald’s starting developing a long-term strategy to integrate coffee and related beverages into its core menu. 

In 2006, it rolled out premium-blend coffee in its restaurants, followed by iced coffee the next year and McCafé in May 2009. In July, McDonald’s expanded McCafé with frozen smoothies and frappes.

“As you look at how customers use our restaurants today, and how eating out and how habits have changed, gone is traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, even though we sell the majority of our coffee products at breakfast,” said McDonald’s USA spokeswoman. “Some of these other iced beverages really have started to pick up mid-morning and late afternoon.”

An aggressive marketing push helped secure buzz around McCafé . Aside from traditional advertising – general market, TV, radio, and print – McDonald’s  ran a Free Mocha Monday promotion in July 2009.

McDonald’s continues to expand its offering under the McCafé brand. This month it’s introducing a caramel mocha drink, and the company is testing frozen strawberry lemonade in several markets.

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Bad economy? Raise your prices … Beer makers do.

November 19, 2010

TakeAway: Domestic beer makers recently raised prices and narrowed the price gap between premium domestic lagers and subpremium beers.

With less economic incentive for consumers to trade down to domestic subpremium beers, sales of such beers are down 4.1% versus 0.8% for domestic premium beers.

The heavy consolidation of the U.S. beer market has given the two dominant firms considerable power to sustain such price increases.

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Excerpted from Wall Street Journal, “Sticky Price Hikes Help Beer Profits,” by David Kesmodel, November 3, 2010

The stubbornly high U.S. jobless rate continues to plague the biggest beer makers, which are expected to report declining third-quarter U.S. unit sales this week, even as they divulge promising signs due to greater pricing power. …

The U.S. divisions of [Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Molson Coors Brewing Co.] raised prices by between 50 cents and $2 a case in September, … the hikes generally are sticking. Another positive indicator: fewer drinkers appear to be trading down from premium brews such as Anheuser’s Bud Light to less expensive beverages such as Busch Light and Natural Light. …

The weak employment picture hurts mass-market lager makers that depend heavily on sales to 21-to-35-year-old men. But Anheuser and MillerCoors are demonstrating strong pricing power, enabling them to raise their revenue per unit of volume. They also continue to reap the benefits of cost reductions stemming from their 2008 mergers.

Anheuser, which controls about 49% of the U.S. market, and MillerCoors, with about 30%, lifted the prices of their subpremium brands in September, narrowing the price gaps with premium lagers such as Bud Light and Coors Light. That seems to be a factor in recent weaker sales for the inexpensive, low-margin brews. …

Unit sales of domestic premium brews fell just 0.8% in food, drug and mass-merchandise outlets, excluding Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in the 13 weeks through Oct. 3 versus a year-ago … In contrast, domestic subpremium beers fell 4.1%. …

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Manly Men Drink Coke Zero and Pepsi Max

November 18, 2010

TakeAway: Coke and Pepsi’s rivalry is the stuff of legend in the ad business.

Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are chasing a burgeoning market of men who don’t want “diet” soda. 

Coke Zero launched five years ago and commands a healthy lead in sales. Pepsi, however, launched a new positioning over the summer. 

Below is a comparison of how each managed its media programs.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Coke Zero vs. Pepsi Max: Which Media Plan Had More Fizz?” By Antony Young, November 3, 2010

1.  Creative executions

Coke Zero’s ‘Four S’ Strategy: Coke Zero centered its brand media strategy on four key pillars: sports, social media, schools and Spanish language media. To build brand discussion, Coke Zero also implemented several clever social media and college programs. Lastly, Coke Zero shifted just under a fifth of its budget into Hispanic media in 2010.

Pepsi Max: Zero Calories, Maximum Taste: Pepsi Max went with a more multimedia plan across television, print and online display to launch its new positioning, “Zero Calories, Maximum Taste.” The new creative dropped diet from its messaging and went after Coke Zero with a comparative ad.

2.  Paid media strategy

Coke Zero’s paid media plan this year so far has been essentially 99% broadcast. It also focused almost solely on sports programming.  It also made a very significant shift in targeting among the Hispanic market by placing 18% of its total budget on Univision. Last year it did not buy any Spanish Language television

Pepsi Max employed a broader range of media. It put 72% of its media plan into broadcast television, contrasting Coke Zero’s 51% in broadcast, 28% in cable and 21% in spot. Pepsi Max’s sports buy included auto racing, but its purchase spanned a wider variety of programming to deliver higher reach. Its top two programming genres were reality and comedy.  In print, Pepsi Max ran a series of advertorials in Maxim.

3.  Owned media strategy

Both brands’ owned media strategy smartly leveraged content on Facebook.

4.  Earned media strategy

Coke Zero posted a clever video and developed an excellent college advocate program dubbed Coke Zero Agent. Essentially a recruitment program at major colleges around the country, students pitched to be a Coke Zero Agent, a role that involved promoting the brand in their colleges through marketing and social programs on campus.

The Super Bowl is still some three months away, but Pepsi Max kicked off early buzz for its planned promotion with Doritos. It launched the promotion at an event in Los Angeles with Betty White, the breakout star of the 2010 Super Bowl commercials with her spot for Snickers.


While Coke Zero had the benefit of a bigger budget, it made clear choices about where it wanted to play in what looked like a more deliberate and distinct strategy. It made a clear decision with its television plan to single-mindedly chase the young male audience through sports programming events. Its substantial investment in Hispanic media gave the brand one edge over Pepsi Max. It also intelligently employed branded content online.

Pepsi Max‘s plan had a more traditional media flavor to it, delivering strong audiences for the advertising and smartly leveraged Doritos’ early buzz for the forthcoming Super Bowl.

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Competition is Brewing Among Single-Serve Coffees

October 29, 2010

TakeAway: An advertising battle is breaking out in the single-serve coffee business as the holiday season nears.

The single-serve business—in which consumers pop “pods” or cartridges into household machines that brew individual cups of coffee, espresso and other java drinks—is gaining traction in the U.S. after becoming popular in Europe.

This is a highly competitive market with plenty of room to grow, but holiday spending is still expected to be fairly low due to the economy.

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Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal, “The Single-Serve Push” By Suzanne Vranica, October 14, 2010

Nestlé is just one of the companies that have either started or will start major ad pushes, geared toward the holidays.  Other players include Kraft, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Mars, Royal Philips Electronics and Sara Lee.

Currently, only about 7% of U.S. households have a single-serve coffee machine. About 60% of the coffee machines are sold during the holiday months, though companies make most of their profits selling the containers or “pods” that hold the coffee.

The onslaught of advertising comes as consumers remain cautious about spending. Single-cup coffee typically costs less than $1 a serving, but consumers have to spend between $100 and $400 on the machines. There are also upscale models that cost well above $500. Still, food companies and analysts say consumers may be more willing to make coffee at home rather than buying it from local cafes.

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Gatorade before, during and after … the game, that is.

May 17, 2010

TakeAway: After three years of declining sales, PepsiCo wants to regenerate the product life cycle by designing a three-step system for Gatorade consumption and targeting a niche market of elite athletes.  Particularly after a failed makeover dubbing the drink “G” last year, PepsiCo needed to find a way to regain profits for a mature product.   


Excerpted from WSJ, “Gatorade: Before and After — PepsiCo’s New Ad Campaign Touts Three-Drink System for Sports Beverage” By Valerie Bauerlein, April 23, 2010

The campaign promoting the new lineup of “G Series” drinks for athletes, aims to demonstrate that Gatorade isn’t just a sports drink that replaces nutrients sweated out during the game, but a system with three steps: a carbohydrate-loaded “Prime” concentrated liquid before play; the traditional “Perform” sports drink during; and a light, protein-rich “Recover” drink after.

Gatorade’s basic “thirst quencher” message of hydration hasn’t changed much in 45 years. But PepsiCo wants the G Series to expand the Gatorade message to broader sports performance.

Teens are Gatorade’s main target.  To create the G Series line, Gatorade interviewed more than 10,000 teen athletes, parents and coaches. Many said they already ate something with carbs before a game (candy, chips), a sports drink during and something with protein afterward (sandwiches).

The three products — Prime, Perform and Recover — together will cost about $7. A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade costs about $2.

The company also plans to reach out to adult athletes. Gatorade is launching a separate new line next month called G Series Pro, aimed at marathon runners, personal trainers and other elite athletes. The products will be sold in specialty stores such as GNC and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Gatorade is PepsiCo’s third-biggest selling global beverage brand after Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew, so its 14% sales volume decline in the U.S., its biggest market, last year was a concern for executives, analysts and investors.

PepsiCo’s first-quarter earnings, released Thursday, showed that the company has yet to turbo-charge Gatorade, although sales are improving. The company posted a 26% jump in first-quarter earnings, boosted by the February acquisition of its two biggest bottlers. While quarterly revenue in the company’s Pepsi Americas Beverages business, including North America and Latin America, rose 32%, beverage volumes fell 4%.

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How cool are you? …. Quick, what are the top 10 booze brands?

May 13, 2010

The World’s Most Powerful Spirits & Wine Brands, 2010


Smirnoff‘Smirnoff  launched a wide range of flavoured variants and a number of quality variants.

It faces fresh challenges at the top end from Absolut  and Grey Goose.

It is also being undermined from below, from the likes of Svedka – the highest new entrant in 2010 – and Eristoff. 

Johnnie WalkerJohnnie Walker has had a pretty tough year with volumes down 11%.

However, Johnnie Walker still remains the most powerful whisky brand in the world outstripping its nearest rivals by some margin – three times bigger than its nearest Scotch rival, J&B,


Barcardi is the rum market …

The brand leverages its relationship with music which helps drive relevance and volume in the nightclubs and bars on which it so much depends.

Martini VermouthThe sustained appeal of cocktails and Martini’s consistent association and sponsorship of glamorous events …

Positioning Martini as a versatile summer long drink and pitcher option when mixed with fruit juice will extend the brand’s relevance and opportunities for consumption.

HennessyFrench brand Hennessy is the most powerful cognac brand in the world.

The Hennessy brand remains incredibly strong and continues to be a hit with the rap community which has adopted the brand as its own. This association with some of the world’s hippest stars ensures Hennessy’s continued cultural relevance and presence among the world’s most powerful spirits brands.

Jack Daniel'sIts iconic square bottle and black and white label help differentiate Jack Daniel’s from the rest of the whiskey market.

Jack Daniel’s volumes increased slightly in one of the most difficult years for a generation, testament to the brand’s strength and loyal following.

AbsolutAbsolut has lost its status as the world’s strongest vodka brand to Smirnoff.

However, Absolut’s history of innovative marketing activities, that have given it its unique position in the market, gives the brand a solid platform from which to regain its crown.


Chivas RegalChivas Regal’s premium range of aged whisky continues to be appreciated as one of the finest in the world.

The brand’s premium status is supported with sponsorship of premium creative events such as Chivas and Cannes Film Festival.


Captain MorganCaptain Morgan reached the top 10 by entering into the spirit of social media trend, accumulating over 200,000 Facebook fans.


Ballantine'sBallentine’s  caters for different tastes, giving consumers choice without having to leave the brand.

The brand is beginning to make inroads into the lucrative cocktail market …  introducing the  brand to a new generation of loyal followers.


Aruba, Jamaica … coconut water refreshes a market … well, maybe.

September 16, 2009

TakeAway: Drink makers have figured out that consumers not only want the absence of “negatives” in their foods and beverages, but now also want some “positives”. 

Let’s see if coconut water turns around the bottled water biz.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Coconut Water Bubbles” By Suzanne Vranica, August 27, 2009

As the once-hot bottled water business loses steam, drink makers are starting to pour money into marketing campaigns for what they hope will be the next sector to come to a boil: coconut water

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts and is different from coconut milk, which is pressed from the coconut meat. A popular drink in Brazil, the water is now catching on in the U.S., thanks to its healthy image and athletes and celebrities … who drink the product …

For the past 52-weeks ended July 12, sales of bottled water dropped 6% to $7.6 billion …  sales of coconut water doubled this year to roughly $20 million

 “Although it’s a very tiny part of the beverage business, it’s growing fast because it’s seen as a natural product, it’s relatively low in calories and it has a lot of potassium”

The category’s potential is now attracting the biggest players in the beverage business. Earlier this month, PepsiCo agreed to buy Brazil’s largest coconut water company, which makes coconut water brands Kero Coco and Trop Coco …

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