Coke Zero: Unlock The 007 in You

Coke Zero has recently launched a video on YouTube in support of the upcoming James Bond 007 Skyfall movie.  Their claim to “Unlock The 007 in You” follows consumers in a Belgian train station looking to purchase Coke Zero and having to beat a series of obstacles in order to get free theater passes to watch Skyfall.  It looks to be a successful commercial, but why did it work so well?

First of all, readers and viewers should understand that this is in fact a commercial, not a viral video.  The liability of such an event inside a train station to have just about any regular consumer try this would be significant – given all the obstacles that the “Bond player” would have to complete.  And are all thirst-quenchers in Belgium male, or are the women not interested in completing this 007 challenge?  What about all the camera angles that show how the player tries to complete these challenges – there would definitely be a need for more than one camera, and certainly not security video.  So while this Coke Zero effort has generated a lot of interest and attention, remember that it is scripted and fictional (just like James Bond) and not real-life.  What it does offer is a chance for someone live like James Bond for a brief moment in their real life.

Now on to review the commercial.

The commercial’s success is purely rooted in its ability to build consumer interest and follow through on the challenge to get free Skyfall passes after getting their beverage.  First of all, a touch screen vending machine that asks men to enter your name and then offering you a chance to win a free pop is truly attention grabbing.  The first stimulant is the male consumer wanting to quench their thirst with a Coke Zero and approaching the vending machine.  While Canada and U.S. does not have touch screen vending machines, I’m not too sure what European vending machines look like so the touch screen itself may not be attention grabbing.  What is of note is the interaction between consumer (now a paying customer) and vending machine – when it offers you a chance to win free movie tickets.

Coke Zero Skyfall Cans - courtesy of popsop.com

This opportunity to win tickets is the hook and follow through for the customer.  The customer at this point must decide whether he wants to participate since he still has the chance to opt out.    Note how there was one customer that opted to not participate (around 0:15 sec)?  However, being in a society where “Free” changes behavior, how could most customers resist when being offered extra value for what they have just paid for?  It is akin to “Buy One Get One Free” or “Spend $10 Get Free X” offers.  Next, the customer accepts the challenge and must commit to finishing in time to win the tickets.

On the commitment aspect, the customer must complete the machine’s request to get the offer.  So he starts racing through the train station – under a time limitation and obstacles created by Coke Zero.  All this racing around in the train station is the so-called “James Bond experience” where the participant is unlocking their inner secret agent as they overcome obstacles and beat the clock.  As they reach their final destination, they find one additional challenge to link fiction with real-life.  By this time they has amassed a following of interested bystanders (most are paid actors – sorry for spoiling it if you have not seen the video) that goad the participant along.  And once this last challenge is completed – celebration ensues.

While this commercial is more fiction than real-life, it hammers home the point that the customer is willing to go to extreme measures to get yourself a Coke Zero.  And it beautifully ties in with the James Bond Skyfall movie with all the “extreme measures” implied during the participant experience.  Do you agree? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Red Bull Aims to Grow Category With New “Editions”

Red Bull EditionsRed Bull has held out for a long time, but has finally decided to launch new energy drink flavors to complement their original, sugar-free, and calorie-free flavors.  News from the National Association of Convenience Stores Show broke out that Red Bull will be bringing the three flavors that they had previously launched in Europe into North America.  The folks over at BevNet.com got a chance to taste the Red Bull Editions – Blueberry, Cranberry, and Lime flavors – and have posted their thoughts here.  These new flavors are expected to fully launch in March 2013, but will be available in limited edition capacity in November/December at 7-Eleven.

While this may seem like a genius move for Red Bull to launch new flavors, does anyone wonder why it took so long?  After all, Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy have launched so many new flavors, and have done so for over a few years.  The jury is still out on Red Bull’s most recent innovation was the Red Bull Total Zero – a line extension (see post here).  And both of their prior innovations are already discontinued (see post here).  Despite leveraging the “energy” association, their entry into energy shots was not a success.  All this really points to is that Red Bull has a bad track record when it comes to extending itself beyond their core offering and comfort zone – energy drinks.

This flavor launch fits the profile of introducing new products in an arena of familiarity.  These Red Bull Editions have existed in Austria and Germany for over a year, so there is a history of success and some sales figures to analyze before launching in North America.  Red Bull is sticking with its bread and butter with this launch.  Even the flavors that they picked – Blueberry, Cranberry, and Lime – are common and safe to make this a sure-win.

Red Bull Total ZeroThat said, what can Red Bull expect from the North America energy category with this launch?  Like the Red Bull Total Zero, the Editions will be shelved with the rest of the Red Bull family in the cooler.  And there is limited cooler space despite an unlimited assortment of energy drinks to choose from – for the consumer as well as the retailer buyer.  Unlike other energy drink manufacturers , Red Bull has the benefit of secure shelf space.  Most coolers will have at least two full shelves of Red Bull for three energy drink flavors so they have the ability to reduce facings for their own products to make room for these new flavors.  Of course, the more plausible selling story would be to remove competitive offerings to make room.  Simply choose the slowest mover in the category and replace it with the new products.  The Editions also stand a greater chance of adding dollars to the category dollars.  The European market sales figures hinted that more than half of the purchases were additional items, versus substitution items.

Consumers like trying new products, but they still want to do it within a comfort zone.  These Editions should do well given the strong  Red Bull brand name.  And beyond these three new flavors, there may be other Red Bull flavors that will come out soon enough.

Updated Minute Maid Single Serve Packaging

 

New Minute Maid BottlesIt’s long overdue in the implementation process, but the new Minute Maid bottles have phased into the Canadian marketplace.  Originally launched in the U.S. in 2009/2010 for the full Minute Maid assortment, the single serve bottles appear to be the last ones to be change over to the new packaging.  This may be a result of the labeling changes as well, since the adhesive labeling is now replaced with the plastic shrink wrap.  Here in Canada, that change from paper labels to plastic shrink wrap only took place this past June (could be earlier, but that’s when it was noticeable in coolers and store shelves).  Judging that there has been no backlash on Minute Maid like the Tropicana fiasco, it would appear that this change is a success in the Canadian marketplace.

Ultimately it’s a sleeker looking bottle that places more emphasis on the bottle’s images than the bottle’s content.  With more of the content behind this whole bottle plastic wrap, this makes the product more dependent on the imagery and colors – sliced oranges and leafy green colors.  The bottle itself is also streamlined – gone are the wavy grooves from the previous iteration and replaced with a smoother grip-friendly shape.

While it may not change sales all that much, the new bottle certainly makes the juice brand more current by adapting to the stronger emphasis placed on beverage packaging.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian readers.  No actual post this week (family time is important time of the year).  I leave you with an image of something that is beverage-related and Thanksgiving related.  Hope you had a great long weekend!

Jones Thanksgiving Soda

Everyone Wins With Up-Sized Fanta

Fanta Upsize

BevWire recently noticed that Coca-Cola’s Fanta flavors has made some subtle changes to their packaging.  The take-home 1.5L bottles were upsized and replaced with 2L bottles to align with the rest of their take-home offerings like Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and so on.  I believe their packaged cans were also 10 to a case before, and now those have been increased to 12 cans per case.  Not sure what led to this decision, but it should be viewed as a good move all around.  Manufacturer, retailers, and consumers alike should all be happier at the end of the day.

The increased 500ml for Fanta will provide cost savings for Coca-Cola.  They no longer have to source a different shape & size for their take-home bottles.  With the exception of the Canada Dry Green Tea Gingerale, all of Coca-Cola’s take-home bottles all take the iconic Coke contour shape.  This will also provide for stronger brand recognition as a Coca-Cola beverage product since this bottle shape is patented, and only Coca-Cola products can be bottled in this format.  The cost savings also transfer onto the production floor.  The up-sizing for both bottles and cans means that the automated assembly lines do not have to refitted to bottle and package different sized products.  Delivery to customer also also made easier as the case stacking inside the delivery trucks are are uniform.  Pretty much a no-brainer for the beverage organization, which leads me to wonder…why was this not done in the first place?

At the retailer level, the shelf sets don’t appear to be affected (see image above).  The pricing also does not really change since it must line-up with the rest of the 2L take-home bottles.  Ultimately, it’s business as usual for the retailers.

Among consumers, this may be an unexpected bonus when they intend to buy this refreshment.  Coming in-store and to the beverage aisle, the shopper may very well expect to pick-up a 1.5L bottle of Fanta and instead find that Fanta has given them an extra 500ml.  Will this lead to stock-up behavior?  Possibly.  There will also be some form of short-term gain when larger value is perceived (in this case, more Fanta for the same price).

Fanta Tangerine 473ml - courtesy of iflair.bizThe next step for the Coca-Cola would be the align their single-serve Fanta bottles with the rest of the single-serve assortment.  The Fanta bottle contains 473ml, while the rest of the beverage manufacturer’s single-serve portfolio houses 591ml.  With the cost savings seen for the take-home adjustment, wouldn’t there be even more cost savings if the changes were applied to the entire Fanta assortment?  Retailers wouldn’t notice too much of a difference in terms of stocking, but this may lead to a short spike in sales.  Your move, Coca-Cola – just putting the idea out there.