Coca-Cola scraps Sprite 3G and focuses on Relentless

By Caroline Parry

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has axed energy drink Sprite 3G less than two years after it was launched. The soft drinks giant will now focus on its second energy drink brand Relentless, which it has already extended with a second variant, Relentless Inferno.

The drink was positioned as a "nice tasting" energy drink, in an attempt to steal the share of market leader Red Bull, which focuses on its functional benefits, rather than how the product tastes (MW August 4, 2005). Sprite 3G received a £5m launch campaign, including television, outdoor and online, and a major sampling push.

Coke had reduced spend on the brand and increased support for Relentless due to its stronger sales (MW November 23). Industry sources say that consumers prefer Relentless because they do not realise that it is a Coke brand.

One source adds that Coke did not do enough to differentiate it from the flagship Sprite brand. The TV campaign for 3G used the "wrong sprite" theme. It showed a man struggling to stay awake on a bus, who is woken up by a baby sprite goblin landing in his lap. It has the strapline: "A new member of the Sprite family has just arrived – Sprite 3G" (MW March 23, 2006). The advertising was created by Lowe London.

There has been a raft of new products launched in the energy drinks market over the past two years. Red Bull, the market leader, has launched a sugar-free variant and new can sizes to drive impulse sales. Rival Irn Bru has also launched into the market with Irn-Bru 32, which is also positioned as "pleasant tasting" and aimed at a female market (MW January 19, 2006).

Coca-Cola Enterprises confirms Sprite 3G was delisted last month.

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