Probably a good example of a product repositioning exercise is Mother Energy drink in Australia, which is a Coca-Cola brand. When it was first introduced into the marketplace, driven by Coca-Cola’s goals be a market leader in the energy submarket, the overall launch campaign was well executed.
All the marketing mix elements
Launch campaign is a good example of leveraging a company’s strengths in the marketplace. As the clear market leader in the soft drink beverage market in Australia, Coca-Cola had a number of strengths and capabilities, including its logistics system, its retailer relationships, its brand building ability and promotional expertise.
Taking all this into account, the launch of Mother Energy was well executed. To start with the word “Mother" communicated a tough image – obviously being derived somewhat from a common swear word in some movies of “mother_______". The packaging of the can carry the image of a tattoo, which was culturally very relevant at the time.
The launch TV commercial was reminiscent of Madagascar, in terms of the popular movie at the time. Coca-Cola effectively leveraged their retailer relationships and got heavy distribution across its network of retailers. These retailers offered a 2-for-1 sales promotion, which was designed to initiate a trial purchase.
A taste problem
Unfortunately, the market did not respond well to the taste of Mother Energy drink. And while initial trial sales are quite high, repeat sales were very disappointing. Therefore, Coca-Cola had to decide what to do with this new brand, where they have invested quite heavily.
Potentially they could have continued promoting the product; however, that option had a number of concerns, in particular the lack of retailer support that could be expected in the longer term. They could also decide to withdraw the brand and reintroduce a new brand. That choice certainly would have had some merit, because most consumers have placed the brand in their inert set – which means they deem it as unsuitable for their needs.
Coca-Cola decided that they had invested so much in the brand, and that the name had a high level of brand awareness, that they needed to redesign the product’s taste in and reposition the product in the minds of the consumer. They kept the brand name Mother, changed the packaging, double the size of the serving, and introduced advertising that highlighted that the taste had changed significantly.
The key part of this campaign and relaunch was change consumer’s minds about the product. Many consumers had trialed it and were disappointed and therefore saw no reason to repurchase the brand. Hence, this relaunch was essentially a repositioning of the brand so that consumers would be willing to trial the product again.
Below is the TV commercial that Coca-Cola used in order to change consumer’s minds.