Case study 53 liptonjuice

In March 1994 Britvic felt that all its research indicated that it was onto another winning brand in the iced tea drink, Liptonjuice, a joint venture between Unilever, the maker, PepsiCo, and its part-owned distributor, Britvic. It was expected that the product would achieve a sales volume of £20m in its first year and the producers mistakenly saw the British tradition of tea drinking as an advantage. Liptonjuice, it was believed, would play on the public's love of tea in combination with an increasing preference for more varied soft drinks. Despite initial optimism, the brand's future is now in serious jeopardy since PepsiCo and Britvic have said they will no longer distribute the brand. Unilever now has to go it alone or find a new partner. It was first launched in March 1994 and subsequently relaunched after radical changes to give a cleaner, more refreshing taste, better suited to British palates. But all this has been to no purpose.

PepsiCo might consider introducing its own iced tea as part of its Radical Fruit range. The range - minus an iced tea - is already available in Spain. The feeling as far as the UK market is concerned is that the British take a singular view of tea: it is something to be drunk hot, at any time of the day. Moreover, it was felt that even a multimillion pound advertising campaign that had been used to back Liptonjuice had failed to persuade the British to change their minds (see Figure 5.3).

However, tea drinkers in other European countries take their tea without milk and, as in the case of the USA, at specific times of the day. For Europeans and

United Kingdom

Spain France Germany




Iced tea consumption in Europe, 1995

Americans the idea of drinking cold tea, without milk, as just another drink is far more acceptable, since the associations with hot, milky tea are not as strong. It has also been easier to position the product as a sports drink in Europe and to sell it through sports clubs.

In 1995, iced tea was the fastest growing soft drink in Italy.

Coca-Cola has its own iced tea in the USA and Europe, where it is called Nestea. Liptonjuice was launched in Spain in 1994, a year after Nestea's Spanish debut but sales have been disappointing, as in the UK. PepsiCo's Radical Fruit range has, however, been a success in Spain.

Source: Rees5

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