What can you offer?

Related tags Soft drinks Coca-cola

There is no doubt when it comes to Christmas Coca-Cola rules the roost. Its TV advertising over recent years has sought to inextricably link the...

There is no doubt when it comes to Christmas Coca-Cola rules the roost. Its TV advertising over recent years has sought to inextricably link the brand with the "picture postcard magic" of Christmas. Jingling bells and images of Santa Claus state in no uncertain terms that Coke wants to own Christmas. And according to Coca-Cola Enterprises' (CCE) trading director Andy Slee, sales figures show that not only is cola the soft drink of choice of pub customers, Coca-Cola is the brand of choice.

"As recent AC Nielsen data shows a significant boost to the cola sector already in 2006 (4.9 per cent volume), we anticipate particularly good sales for colas this Christmas. Following on from the success of the World Cup and Coca-Cola Zero campaigns, we are confident that Christmas 2006 will bring a positive end to a strong year for CCE."

This year CCE will be reintroducing its on-trade exclusive sleeved bottle promotion for its cola brands, with a new design. Following its success with the sleeved bottles last year and during the World Cup, the company is confident the promotion will lead to continued sales uplift.

"Christmas has always had a special significance for Coca-Cola in the on trade," says Arran Heal, head of marketing, social occasions, at CCE.

"With market research demonstrating that consumers are keener than ever to treat themselves and their families at Christmas time, publicans can drive sales by making the most of CCE's eye-catching seasonal point-of-sale and on-pack graphics. "The new stylish and contemporary sleeved bottle designs have been specifically developed to drive fun and excitement among on-trade consumers over the Christmas period."

Juicing sales

While CCE's focus is on its cola range this Christmas, particularly given its recent multi-million pound launch and continued investment in Coke Zero, Britvic soft drinks will be focusing on the brand that has slowly but steadilybecome its flagship, J2O.

"The key thing for us this Christmas is the performance of our new J2O flavour - Orange & Pomegranate," says Duncan Hay, business unit director for the on-trade at Britvic. "Early indicators are good and we feel the way to sustain interest is to innovate."

Duncan also argues that it is key to appeal to children over Christmas, despite any temptation licensees have to just focus on an adult offer.

"The other key thing is the offer for kids. We have got Robinsons Fruit Shoot H2O which was launched earlier this year - you need to show people these days that your outlet accepts kids. You need to create news around Christmas to give consumers something fresh to see in the category."

Indeed, Duncan is hugely in favour of licensees increasing their range over Christmas - not least because the customer is unadventurous in his or her choice at the bar.

"Old habits die hard and the mix of soft drinks in the on-trade has changed very little compared to the pace of change in take-home. People buy a huge range of products from the shelf in the off-trade but in the on-premise people don't know what is on offer and so default their choice to cola."

More drinks for more customers

Matthew Woodward, marketing director at Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises, believes strongly that catering beyond your regular customer base will stand you in good stead for Christmas; that recognising you will be getting much younger and much older customers will mean having to stock a wider range of soft drinks.

"It is also really worth looking over your range at this time of year. You will be serving a much wider age range - because of the increasing number of families there will be much older and much younger drinkers. Therefore you need a premium range of soft drinks," says Matthew.

"It could also be a time to push non-alcoholic beers. If you merchandise them well, they will sell. It is time to look at things that you would not necessarily sell for 11 months of the year but for just a few weeks will be wanted by customers."

So what other soft drinks are there out there that might appeal to your customers? Why not look at the well-known brands that after years of success in take-home are beginning to sense the opportunity?

As you will see on page 24, Appletiser has really picked up on this and is starting to enjoy some decent success in pubs.

But there are other brands, such as Vimto, which are also keen to get on the on-trade soft drinks bandwagon. After enjoying 11 per cent year-on-year growth in the off-trade Vimto has announced it is to launch a 275ml glass bottle specifically for pubs and bars and will be sold in its fizzy Original format.

"We recognised there was a big opportunity to promote the brand within the on-trade. The success of our brand and the speed of its growth over the last year gave us the confidence to look at new areas where we could expand our reach," says brand manager Claire Nield.

"As the trend in drinking and eating out continues, we see Vimto fitting well into the adult market as an alternative soft drink."

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more