Friday, November 21, 2008

Brand Update : Sprite

On September 2008, Sprite launched a new variant Sprite Xpress with much fanfare. The various news reports celebrated this launch as a packaging innovation which Indian market is witnessing for the first time.

Sprite Xpress is the 350 ml Pet bottle from Sprite. The innovation that the company boast is that this is an " On The Go " Pack. That means that you can carry it with you when you are traveling..

What's new in that ?

According to the Press Release,
the new pack is a strategic initiative aimed to build strong connect with the youth. It is designed to offer convenience and adapts to the dynamic and on the move lifestyle of the consumers "

Frankly I did not knew that a simple packaging can do lot of strategic " things " to the consumers.

Coca Cola has been heavily promoting the Sprite Xpress. The variant is being promoted using a long peppy television advertisement .

Watch the campaign here : sprite xpress

The ad is catchy with a good background song . The ad revolves around the theme " outwit to outrun " and have a new tagline ' Ghumo Ghumao'.

The issue with this ad is that the entire foundation of the ad is based in Hindi. The song and the taglines are Hindi. When the ad is to be shown in the South Indian market, the agency will have tough time translating these in local language without losing relevance and sounding funny.

After seeing the ads I couldn't understand the innovation. After a little googling, I finally understood.

The innovation is in the pricing. Sprite was available in three packs : 300 ml glass bottle pack, 500 ml Pet bottle and large one litre Pet bottle.

Now the new pack is 350 ml in Pet bottle priced at Rs 15. The new pack is aimed at those customers who want single use packs while on the move. So offering the single use Pet bottle makes marketing sense.

With regard to the pricing, the new Xpress pack is priced Rs15 . Although psychologically seem to be lower than Rs 20 for 500 ml, in actual sense, the consumer is paying more for less.

In that way Coca Cola is gaining more than Rs 1 per bottle as margin. In a business with wafer thin margins, getting Rs 1 more is nothing but innovation.

That also justifies the extravagant promotion for this variant. The ads have been shot in Malaysia and runs for a full 60 seconds which really costs a bomb at the current advertisement rates.
The true innovation is with regard to the use of OOH media by this brand. According to reports, Sprite has launched a series of 3 D outdoor creatives on various outdoor platforms like elevators, buildings, hoardings etc.

Sprite has to create a big hype around Xpress and brand it as a packaging innovation because it is priced high. As customers , we have to pay more for such kind of " innovations ". The paradox is that this is from a brand which says " No Bakwaas " only seedhi bath ( straight talk !)

On a marketing practice perspective, Sprite has done a good job in launching such a variant. There will be lot of customers especially youngsters who want such single serve bottles which can be taken along with them. The problem with the existing 300 ml glass bottle is that one cannot take it on the go.

According to reports, the company is planning to launch Xpress packs for its brands like Coca Cola, Thums Up, Limca etc.

For customers : you have to be clear about what you are paying for... baki all bakwas

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