Coca-Cola is spending £10 million for a relaunch of Schweppes in the United Kingdom as part of a fightback against new entrants to the tonic market such as Fentimans and Fever-Tree.
The core Schweppes tonic range of the drinks giant will be relaunched with newly designed bottles. Coca-cola plans to spend £10 million on a marketing campaign that will include sponsorship of the Jonathan Ross Show, ITV’s prime time show.
At the same time, Coca-Cola will be launching a new, premium brand of Schweppes tonics, dubbed as Schweppes 1783. It is designed for mixing with upmarket spirits — and not just gin. One of its six new flavours in the array is salty lemon tonic which is designed for mixing with tequila.
The relaunch is the biggest ever investment of Coca-Cola in the brand and follows the emergence of rival tonic brands such as Fentimens and Fever-Tree in recent years. Fever-Tree, which describes itself as a higher-end tonic for higher-end spirits, was established in 2005 and has sales of over £100 million currently.
While Schweppes is with a 27 percent share and remains to be the leader in the tonic market, Jon Woods, Coca-Cola’s UK managing director, informed reporters that the brand has “not captured our full share of the growth that’s been happening in the mixer market. ”
“One of the great things about competition is it forces you to look at your own business and decide how you could be better,” said Woods to reporters. “We’ve taken a while, watched the market to see how it’s developed, talked to consumers to see what they want, and we’ve come up with a really fantastic approach for a relaunch of Schweppes.”
Coca-Cola directly asked if the new products were pushed by Fever-Tree, Woods stated: “I think it’s a response to a premiumisation of the category and there’s a number of brands in the category which have come along in recent years and started to do that.
“We need to make sure that Schweppes stays relevant and premium. I wouldn’t say it’s a response to any individual competitor or any individual activity.”
As part of the relaunch, Coca-Cola is emphasising the Schweppes brand’s history, which it has owned in the United Kingdom for around 25 years. The “1783” in the new premium range’s name refers to the year that Schweppes was first founded by Jacob Schweppe, a Swiss-German and the first person to invent a process to carbonate water.
James Quincy, Coca Cola’s new CEO, who assumed the role earlier in 2017, has said that he wants to diversify Coke’s range and invest in new products. Woods stated that the new Schweppes premium range was a part of this effort.