Coca-Cola is dropping its Fruitopia fruit-based soft drinks line in the
UK, allowing rival brand Oasis to dominate the UK new-age drinks market.
Coke confirmed this week that the brand it launched in May 1995 with a
pounds 3.7m marketing support package would be phased out of the UK over
the next two months.
The drink is the second of the major new-age drinks brands to falter.
Quaker-owned Snapple is cutting back staff and confining its
distribution to areas of London (Marketing, September 12).
‘We were doing well with Fruitopia, but the scale of the opportunity was
nowhere near what we needed,’ said a Coca-Cola spokeswoman.
She said Fruitopia accounted for around 1% of the total UK soft drinks
market and Coke would now invest its spend on its core cola brands
Rival brand Oasis, which leads the pounds 8.6m new-age sector, is
thought to be outselling Fruitopia by two to one.
The killing off of the brand illustrates the difficulties companies face
innovating and creating new brands and markets. Fruitopia has been sold
on the back of a hippy message of peace and tranquillity, but behind the
scenes the reality has been more stormy.
At its launch it caused controversy when Coke decided to distribute the
brand through Food Brokers rather than its Coca-Cola Schweppes Beverages
venture. CCSB distributed Oasis instead.
Just five weeks after the UK launch, ad agency Chiat Day was fired and
the account moved to Leo Burnett, following Omnicom’s takeover of Chiat
Day. The ads had already caused a stir by tarnishing Coke’s image
through the use of illegal flyposting.
Coke has tried reformulating its Fruitopia flavours to make them more
suited to UK tastes, and changed bottle sizes to make it more cost-
effective against Oasis.
It says sales are strong outside the UK, especially in Spain, Norway,
Canada and the US.