Campari, the Italian drinks group, is the latest major player to launch a premixed ready-to-drink (RTD) product - Campari Mixx. The drink is a blend of Campari and grapefruit and is targeted squarely at the younger generation "open to new taste experiences".
Campari Mixx is low in alcohol at just 6.5 per cent abv, and is designed to be drunk directly from the bottle - thereby targeting the beer market in particular - at "various occasions throughout the day" according to the company, although the likelihood is that it will be primarily drunk in bars and clubs at night.
Campari is drunk in many different ways in different places, but its main target audience is the over-25s, an older market that the 18-30s targeted by Campari Mixx. In Italy, Campari is traditionally taken neat as an aperitif, while in South America it is drunk mainly on ice. In Central Europe, it is particularly common as a cocktail ingredient.
The 275ml bottles are covered with a distinctive red sleeve, making it unmistakably Campari, the company said.
"We wanted to take the opportunity to enter the Italian RTD market, which has the potential to grow to dazzling heights," said Marco Perelli-Cippo, Campari CEO. "This new category of products has already attained significant proportions and growth rates in international markets, particularly in the United States where the Campari Group already trades with SKYY Blue." SKYY Blue is an RTD drink based on Campari's SKYY vodka brand and produced in association with the Miller brewing group. It was launched in the US in March.
"Thanks to Campari Mixx, we are able to further diversify our portfolio in the Italian market, strategically positioning ourselves in an emerging segment which is different from the traditional Campari segment," Perelli-Cippo added.
Distribution of the brand began in the summer, and the drink is already available in Italy and Switzerland, with Germany the next country on the list and other European countries set to follow. The target is to reach 10 million bottles by the end of 2002, and over 25 million by the end of 2003.
The launch will be supported by a major advertising campaign with adverts on major television channels and in cinemas. There will also be major point-of-sale advertising in trendy bars and clubs, the company said.
The Italian RTD market is in its infancy, but it is already home to two of the strongest RTD brands - Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice. Campari will have its work cut out to compete with these two RTD giants, but with RTD products accounting for 12 per cent of global premium spirit sales, it is a market well worth being in.
After many years of being known for just its eponymous brand, Campari has ben expanding rapidly in the last few years, adding a number of other brands such as Cinzano and SKYY and moving increasingly into the wine and soft drinks markets with brands such as Sella & Mosca.
The company declined to comment on whether there would be RTD versions of other Campari brands, or whether there were plans to develop other variants of Campari Mixx, but did confirmed that it was unlikely that Mixx would be launched in the US as it did not want it to compete with SKYY Blue.