Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fanta Marketing Chief: We Can Grow the Category

July 14, 2009
In 2008, when Coca-Cola's flagship soda brand fell 2.5 percent in volume and Pepsi's eponymous cola dropped 6.5 percent, Fanta's modest 1 percent drop can be spun as a win, if one subscribes to the current bromide that "flat is the new up." While those numbers, courtesy of Beverage Digest, show a stagnation, they omit the fact that Fanta wasn't really available in the U.S. prior to 2001. Since then, the brand has made inroads with U.S. Hispanics, though Santiago Blanco, vp of Sprite and flavors for Coca-Cola North America, says Fanta has a lot of mainstream appeal as well. Blanco discussed how Fanta addresses both audiences with Brandweek editor Todd Wasserman. Below are some excerpts.

Brandweek: The Fanta brand was around years and years ago and then it disappeared, but in recent years it came back. What's the back story there?
Santiago Blanco: We reintroduced Fanta into the U.S. market in 2001. We had a national relaunch of Fanta in the U.S. and up til now it's been very successful. It's been growing for seven years in a row and in this industry that's quite an accomplishment. Up to today, Fanta is not only the leader in fruit-flavor soft drinks, but it's the only fruit-flavor soft drink to make it into the top 10 brands according to Beverage Digest.

BW: It was around in the 70s though, right?
SB: It was around in the 70s and 80s, but after that it remained in regions of the country until 2001, when we brought it back to a large scale.

BW: Has the brand been targeted mostly at the Hispanic market in the U.S.?
SB: We've been focusing the market toward teenagers. Teenagers 13-16 is the core target for Fanta. You'll see that all the communication coming out of the brand is targeted to the youth, including our Fantanas ( including our new packaging and graphics. Everything we do is meant to appeal to the youth and by the way Fanta has a good appeal also to moms, so things like the 100 percent natural flavors and the orange taste appeals to moms so they like to take it home for the whole family. But it does have an overindex with Hispanics because Fanta is one of our global brands and because of that it is big in places like Latin America and Europe, so people who come from abroad get a preconceived preference for Fanta so when they come here they continue to buy it. That is cultural.

BW: Where does Fanta fit in with Coke's portfolio?
SB: Fanta is a very playful brand, it's a brand that believes that there's always a moment in time to play, especially in these tough economic times, so they bring that personality to the portfolio. Fanta is also of course a brand that gives us entrance into the fruit flavor beverages which, the dominant one is orange and Fanta being orange-centric gives us an entrance into orange, which is a very popular flavor. Also Fanta provides some variety-we have Fanta grape and Fanta strawberry-so it complements the portfolio really well.

BW: Is market share up as a result of having more advertising. Is that something you're looking to increase?
SB: Absolutely. I think that raising the brand awareness has allowed us to keep the growth going. I think also the consistency-we have kept  the same campaign for almost seven years and I think that has contributed to people recognizing the brand immediately.

BW: The market for carbonated soft drinks is pretty stagnant and even seems to be shrinking and the thinking is that there are so many choices out there that they can't hold the position in the market that they used to. What do you think?
SB: Oh no. I believe absolutely that we can grow the category and the category's going to grow. What we're doing is things like providing different packaging options so you can buy the package that best fits your consumption occasions and doing things like pushing our marketing so we make it more exciting for consumers and we are bringing a lot of innovation to our products as well and that we know captures the attention of all our customers. 

Trident Eyes Moms With Cavity-Fighting Gum

July 30, 2010

Trident this week debuted a series of new spots that show kids doing all sorts of mischievous things, but fighting cavities in the process as they chew Trident gum.

The ads, part of a new campaign by JWT, New York, also carry a new tagline, "Smile on." In one spot, a little girl pops a piece of Trident gum in her mouth, while putting makeup on her younger brother. When mom comes in the room and asks what she is doing, the girl replies: "Fighting cavities." A voiceover concludes the spot, saying: “Whatever they’re doing, when kids are chewing Trident, at least they’re helping fight cavities.”

The effort is meant to promote Trident’s base gum business, said Maurice Herrera, marketing director for the gum brand, which is now owned by Kraft Foods. (The food giant acquired Trident’s parent company, Cadbury, last year.)

Though Trident has talked about cavity prevention in the past, this is the first time it's targeting the message to moms and kids, since cavity protection is of high importance for this group, Herrerra said. “We know the majority of consumers who enter the [sugarless chewing gum] category do so by age five,” he said.

Separately, Trident has a partnership running with Smiles Across America, an organization that connects local governments and companies with dental providers and schools, to help provide affordable dental care to families with children in need.

Trident’s campaign comes at a time when the sugarless chewing gum category is on the rise. From 2008 to 2009, the gum market grew 6 percent, reaching $1.37 billion, per market research firm Mintel. Much of that growth came from sugarless gum brands, which account for 91 percent of the market. Those brands grew 7.7 percent during that same time period.

Marcia Mogelonsky, a global food and beverage analyst who tracks the gum category at Mintel, said Trident is promoting an affordable way to fight cavities in an environment where consumers are keeping a close check on their finances. Citing a recent spike in consumer goods lawsuits, Mogelonsky, however, said that Trident must be able to back up its claims. Gum rival Wrigley, for example, last year came under fire for claiming that its Eclipse gum can kill germs that cause bad breath. (That lawsuit was settled this month. The company agreed to pay as much as $7 million and change Eclipse advertising.)
Trident spent $34.4 million on measured media in 2009, and $5.6 million through March of this year, excluding online and cable, per the Nielsen Co.