New products are clearly going to play a major part in the development of the US soft drinks market this year, with the announcement today that both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are to launch new variants of one of their existing brands.
For Coca-Cola, the brand in question is Sprite, the leading lemon-lime drink in the US (ahead of 7UP), which is to get a new tropical flavour. Called Sprite Remix, the drink will also feature a bold new design for the traditional Sprite logo.
"Sprite Remix gives people another way to enjoy their Sprite," said Chris Lowe, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. "We believe Sprite Remix will build on the brand's popularity in a way that is true to the personality of Sprite."
The new variant will be rolled out in late spring 2003, and will initially be available in 20-ounce bottles with additional package sizes being launched later in the spring and summer. As with most of Coca-Cola's other line extensions - such as Vanilla Coke or Lemon Coke - the new variant is likely to become available in Europe at a later date.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo has announced that it is to extend its popular Mountain Dew brand with the addition of an orange variant, although it will be available only for a limited time during the summer.
Mountain Dew is a citrus-flavoured drink with a liberal dash of caffeine, and the last new extension to the line, Code Red, was one of the star performers for PepsiCo last year. The limited edition orange variant, Mountain Dew LiveWire, will initially be available in 20-ounce plastic bottles, with plans to expand into two-litre plastic bottles and 12-packs of 12-ounce aluminium cans.
"Mountain Dew Code Red sparked category growth and expanded Dew's appeal two summers ago," said Dave Burwick, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Pepsi-Cola North America. "Consumers have been clamouring for more flavour options under the Mountain Dew trademark, so we've developed LiveWire as a summer-only proposition that satisfies their thirst for variety and builds on their passion for Dew."
Mountain Dew LiveWire will be broadly targeted to teens and young adults, and to build on the brand equity of the core Mountain Dew and Code Red brands, it will be supported with an aggressive, three-month marketing plan, including TV, radio, online, outdoor and point-of-sale advertising.
Containing the same base ingredients and caffeine levels as core Mountain Dew, LiveWire is Mountain Dew's third line extension since the introduction of Diet Mountain Dew in 1988. Mountain Dew Code Red debuted in May 2001, with Diet Mountain Dew Code Red following in May 2002.