V8 Launches Energy Shots

V8 Energy ShotIn the increasingly popular energy shots category, V8 has launched their own energy shots.  Using green tea extract as their natural caffeine ingredient, this 2.5oz (74ml) energy shot also includes nine fruits and vegetables such as blackberries, raspberries, apples, and tomatoes.  While the green tea extract serves as the energy component, the nine fruits and vegetables provide the user with antioxidants and vitamins.  The V8 energy shot are currently in a pilot rollout, as its only available in certain American markets, including Minneapolis, Jacksonville, and Colorado Springs.  The retail price for the energy shot is $2.99, and will be found in convenience stores, drug stores and grocery supermarkets.

My main questions for V8’s energy shot would be: in light of Red Bull recently discontinuing their energy shots, does V8 stand a chance in this category?  What makes them different from other energy shot products on the market?

Both questions can be answered by V8’s positioning.  The very thing that differentiates V8 different from their competitors is also what might give them a fighting chance in this category.  Not only is V8 a brand that the public trusts and recognizes, the ingredients themselves also source from healthy and easily recognizable ingredients.  Other energy shots still use healthy ingredients (such as taurine, tyrosine, and guarana), but their naming may easily confuse the shopper.  If you had a choice to pick up a product that contained green tea extract compared to tyrosine, which one would you pick?  Or one that contains strawberries and raspberries compared to guarana and phenylalanine?  The easily recognizable names are common natural ingredients that a shopper sees on store shelves anyway.  As such, it makes it less curious as to what the product is made of.  And from the V8 energy shot nutritional information (link here), they do a good job of providing a common name for the vitamins aside from the chemical name – again helping the shopper make the connection of what’s actually inside the bottle.  All in all, this will help differentiate themselves for other manufacturers.  A trusted name with easily recognizable ingredients certainly helps in this aspect.

In terms of their execution strategy,  V8 may have paid some attention to Red Bull’s energy shot and made the conscious decision to launch regionally.  Red Bull’s energy shot was a national launch in Canada after their introduction in the United States, and their product just wasn’t moving leading to their decision to re-focus solely on their core offering.  By introducing the product in specific regions and channels first, this may help the energy shot in gaining traction (and increase demand) from other regions if it is successful.  And if it is not gaining momentum, the regional rollout will minimize market impact on their losses.  The implication for Canadian consumers is that if this product is only in pilot rollout down south, it is likely to take some more time before it will appear in Canada.

It appears that V8’s marketing strategy to introduce their energy shot is well thought out.  On the sales side, a $2.99 market price point and available in the convenience, drug and grocery supermarkets also help.  All that remains is to see (and taste) the product.  Will it have competitive shelf space at the cash register?  Will the taste itself be too strong or too sweet?  For curious readers in the Minneapolis, Jacksonville, and Colorado Springs area, please try this product and leave me a comment on your thoughts!

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