THIS WEEK: Coca-Cola gives up on fruitopia

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.

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

instead.



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.



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