Kraft’s liquid beverage enhancer MiO is now available in Canada, after being available in the U.S. for over a year. My earlier post detailed the MiO’s impact on the American market, how it has led to line extensions as well as inspired copycats (link here). While MiO is still in a state of infancy in Canada and offers very few challengers, it’s worthwhile to look at the example south of the border to see what type of impact it may have in Canada. Here’s the first MiO commercial for Canada, followed by the American commercial link below.
American MiO commercial link here. The differences are quite obvious in its message and communication, since each ultimately caters to different audiences. Kraft Canada has decided to target 18-34 year old males with the MiO (article from Strategy Magazine details MiO’s Canadian strategy here). With regard to the business impact, will the MiO inspire copycat products from Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Will it also lead to caffeine-infused line extensions like MiO Energy?
While there exists a template in the United States, it’s important to note that the two markets are decidedly different. As we’ve already seen, Canadians do not react to the same type of messaging and need customized advertisements. Further to the differences, Canadian regulations also stipulate stronger focuses on health-consciousness (ie calorie listings on packaging) and product compositions (ie mandatory nutritional tables). This all boils down to the point that what may works in the United States may not work here in Canada.
Kraft Canada will work to grow the category of liquid flavor enhancers, and this will lead to copycats. With Kraft bearing the education costs and the initial market research, other beverage organizations will be able to see what type of opportunities exist in this category. Judging by how the American market is performing, the category does have growth potential and can sustain more than one branded manufacturer. Understanding their own production & distribution capabilities, the entry of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even Dr Pepper Snapple Group in Canada seems just like a matter of timing. Currently on grocery store shelves, the MiO sits by itself with powdered drinks like Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, Nestea without any store brands. It would appear that at this time, even private labels are hesitant of coming into the market and are watching to see how the MiO will perform first before jumping into the category.
How about the MiO Energy, will it enter Canada? It is an intriguing product because the user can personalize their beverage and control the amount of caffeine they would like in their drink. However, with the increased attention on energy drinks, their high caffeine content, and their adverse effects, will this product be successful if launched in Canada? My perception is that it will extend into Canada, but their success hinges on their market positioning. Positioning it as a customizable caffeine drink against coffee, rather than energy drinks may be more successful. Coffee is generally more acceptable as a caffeinated beverage over energy drinks due to their lower caffeine concentration.
In the meantime, Canadians still have the regular Kraft MiO to enjoy in four flavors pending more introductions. Enjoy the exclusivity while it last MiO, because it appears that you’ll have to defend your shelf space soon enough.