What makes for successful new product development? Why do some new
products thrive, while others fail? These are questions many marketers
have to grapple with when considering whether, how or when to introduce
an offering to the marketplace.
Marketing asked ACNielsen to identify some of the leading FMCG launches
of the past 18 months (see table). But why have these launches worked
while others have failed?
"The products that succeed grow out of people's attitudes and behaviour,
rather than being led by the development technology," says Chris Gowar,
Design Bridge's head of brand strategy and innovation.
Gowar says this year has been short on genuine innovation, with
manufacturers looking to milk existing brands to make brand
In terms of launch strategies, there are two main ways to go. A major
player such as Procter & Gamble supports its launches with big adspends
dedicated to getting them adopted across wide sectors of the
Alternatively, there is the 'trickledown' method, a lower-risk approach
often on a test-market scale. By 'seeding' the product into
early-adopter markets, Red Bull was able to persuade consumers to do
much of the marketing for it.
Marketers need to think very carefully about which approach best fits
their objectives, their products and their consumer strategies - and
which best fits their distribution system.
FutureBrand head of European strategy David Hensley argues that a deep
understanding of the supply chain is a pre-requisite for success. It
should be difficult to replicate; there must be enough stock with the
retailer to meet demand, but not so much that the public gets the
picture of an overstocked, unsuccessful launch.
Procter & Gamble launched Iams dog food and expanded the availability of
Iams cat food to the grocery channel in the UK in April 2001. After six
months the brand has a 25% share of dry cat food and a 12% share of dry
dog food and is growing share every period (source IRI).
Since launch, more than 2.5 million UK cats and dogs have tried Iams
(TNS Panel). In the US the Iams launch has taken Procter & Gamble from
sixth to second place as a manufacturer of pet food in just 18 months
Why has it captured the imagination of the marketplace? "We have
accelerated the current market transition from wet food - primarily
marketed on taste and aesthetics - to dry food, which is designed and
marketed more on nutritional and health benefits for the animal," says
Iams brand manager Justine Davey. "Our launch has been timely - dry food
is growing at the expense of wet and people are starting to apply
healthy diet thinking to their pets."
Davey claims that over 60% of pet owners who have given Iams to their
pets have noticed benefits to their health and vitality within three
The brand achieved 70% awareness within three months, through a
multimedia campaign and "phenomenal in-store presence".
TEN SUCCESS STORIES OF 2001
Brand Manufacturer MAT* to Avg four-
Oct 6 2001 wkly sales
Iams Procter & Gamble 15,804 2258
Fruit Shoot Britvic 21,253 1635
Campino Bendicks 10,345 796
Danone Activ Danone Waters 8676 667
Juice Up Britvic 7960 612
T & T T&T Beverages 6458 497
Swiffer Procter & Gamble 6055 466
Bounty Calapuno Mars 3882 431
Carapelli Olive Spread St Ivel 4131 318
Persil Revive Lever Faberge 2841 219
*Moving annual total
Britvic Soft Drinks' Fruit Shoot is a refreshing fruit drink specially
designed for kids, or for when adults are out and about or doing
Since its launch, Fruit Shoot has been one of the top-performing kids'
fruit drinks among its target audience - active, sports-loving five- to
"Fruit Shoot has built on its success with TV ads during school
holidays, sampling at Robinsons Land in Drayton Manor Theme Park, and by
investing more than £320,000 in the sponsorship of kids' channel,
Cartoon Network," says brand controller Lizzie Pawsey.
The product retails in striking packaging with a 'pioneering sports cap'
and is available in Orange & Peach and Apple & Blackcurrant flavours, in
either 200ml or 300ml sizes. There are regular and 'no added sugar'
Danone Activ, a bottled still water with calcium from Danone Waters UK,
was launched in January 2001. It brought a unique product proposition
into the UK market. Drinking one litre of Danone Activ provides
consumers with 37% of the RDA of calcium.
It is positioned as a new, easy and convenient way to top up calcium
levels while enjoying the taste of bottled water. Danone's aim was to
encourage more people to consume more water more often and open up the
UK market to hitherto non-users with a simple and motivating reason to
A high-impact launch strategy created immediate brand awareness. Danone
Activ's national TV 'Skeletons Family' ad campaign hit screens 12 days
after the product went on shelf. PR activity, national sampling and an
education and healthcare programme reached 16 million consumers within
three months of launch.
Strong support from the trade meant that within the first four weeks of
launch the brand had attained 90% distribution across all of the major
multiples and 8.3 million litres of Danone Activ were sold in January
Bendicks launched Campino in May 2000 into the £1bn sugar
confectionery market, in two flavours - Strawberries & Cream and Oranges
& Cream. The first to market with such a product, Bendicks has seen
Campino rise to success through its innovation and commitment to drive
Bendicks has supported Campino with a £4m TV advertising campaign
and heavyweight in-store promotional activity.
Campino created a unique 'luxury taste' segment within the fruit
confectionery market, capturing twice the value share of its nearest
competitor and fuelling growth of the sugar confectionery market.
Now already worth £10.3m (ACNielsen), Campino is set to further
grow the category by continued heavy-weight support and ongoing
innovation, claims Bendicks. Campino sweets are individually wrapped and
are available in both rollpack and bag formats.
Juice Up, launched by Britvic Soft Drinks in June 2000 is a chilled
kids' juice drink that is fortified with calcium and vitamins. It
contains a minimum of 17% fruit juice, six essential vitamins and added
It is available in three flavours - Smooth Orange, Cool Berry and
Sunshine Tropical. The product comes in 'easy-pour sculptured
finger-grip packs' that fit in the fridge door.
"Juice Up was launched as part of our Right Choice Category Management
Programme and designed to build this category," says brand controller
Adrian Troy. "We believe Juice Up reassures mums with its fundamental
health benefits and enables them to make an informed choice for their
kids. In addition, kids love it. Juice Up therefore has all-round
"One 200ml serving of Juice Up contains up to 17% of a child's
recommended daily allowance of calcium - more than in half a glass of