Coca-Cola and Red Bull are usually found at the top of most forecourt stores’ soft drinks sales lists. Coca-Cola has been around for years and has stayed one step ahead of its competition through big marketing campaigns such as ’Holidays are coming’ and massive sponsorships such as that of the recent London 2012 Olympics. There have been brand extensions such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero and various flavours but it is the original Coca-Cola that remains king.

Meanwhile, Red Bull a much younger brand delivers far more than energy. Yes, it helps tired drivers on long journeys stay alert, keeps kids doing exams firing on all cylinders and clubbers going all night long, but today it is much more than an energy drink it’s a lifestyle. The brand has done a brilliant job of identifying itself with cool sports and music.

Red Bull is currently on TV and in cinema with its first core brand advertising campaign that steps away from the classic cartoon style. The ad celebrates the ’World of Red Bull’, showcasing Red Bull athletes, events and properties from around the world and communicating how Red Bull enables people to "take the next step towards their dreams or goals".

"Add to this the ongoing success of Red Bull Racing in Formula One," says Red Bull trade communications manager, Tom Smith, "and you have a huge programme in place, packed with ground-breaking events as well as communications and campaigns to drive awareness, trial and education throughout the year ensuring the ongoing success of the category."

Action on-pack

Other activity happens on-pack. For instance, the 473ml can, which is a favourite with students, has recently benefited from a redesign which features iconic stunt rider Travis Pastrana.

The £1.99 price-marked ’Travis can’ carries a QR code, which leads consumers to exclusive digital content via their smartphones. They can also ’Challenge Travis’ by inventing stunts for him, which he’ll select and perform live when his TV show, Nitro Circus Live, arrives in London later this year.

Says Smith: "This is a hugely exciting piece of activity and the combination of an innovative campaign, great shelf stand out and the fact it gives consumers the chance to get closer to one of their idols will benefit retailers and the sports and energy category as a whole."

Coca-Cola, of course, has been rather busy supporting London 2012 but with the Games over, it is looking to other promotional opportunities. One of these is Coke Zero’s link-up with the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, which hits the big screen on October 26.

To showcase the association, there is a TV ad designed to "leave viewers on the edge of their seats".

The hero of the new Coke Zero campaign has a mission to get the girl of his dreams against all odds, fired on by Coke Zero and the James Bond theme. When he drinks Coke Zero, he unlocks the 007 in himself and immediately hums the James Bond theme. It inspires him to push the boundaries, demonstrating the belief that there is a little Bond in all of us.

To further support the link-up, limited edition Bond-themed designs will appear on Coke Zero cans and bottles from this month with a sophisticated image highlighting the famous Bond ’gun barrel’ design.

Away from Coke, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is promoting Monster Energy with a limited edition Ken Block can. For the uninitiated, Block is a rally driving legend. He drives with the Monster World Rally Team and has a vast following around the world, particularly among core Monster Energy consumers.

He is also the man behind the world-famous Gymkhana motorsport video series. His latest video, Gymkhana Five, secured 20 million views on YouTube in just one week and is 2012’s most viewed brand content video online.

The limited edition Ken Block can features an on-pack promotion the first ever for the brand in Europe.

It gives Monster Energy consumers the chance to win a top-of-the-range Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Built to rally specifications and designed by Ken Block, the car is worth £50,000.

In addition, there are millions of opportunities to instantly win exclusive digital content and other branded goods. To enter the competition, all consumers need to do is log on to the Monster Energy website (, tap in the unique code featured on each pack and, if successful, they will be invited to enter the competition.

Stuart Agates, head of energy at CCE, comments: "With its sales continuing to soar, this is a very exciting time for the Monster brand. By combining its best-selling SKU with the phenomenon that is Ken Block, this promotion will help to drive incremental sales from loyal Monster fans as well as bringing in new shoppers. Retailers can boost the sales potential of this fantastic promotion by stocking the special Monster Energy packs alongside a range of point-of-sale material. We’re anticipating huge interest so we suggest retailers stock up early before packs featuring the promotion run out."

Obviously CCE and Red Bull are not the only companies promoting their brands. For example, Britvic and PepsiCo have launched the largest-ever marketing campaign for Mountain Dew Energy in the UK. This brings together one of the biggest global soft drinks brands with Halo, which is one of the biggest video game franchises.

More than 42 million Halo series games have been sold to date, generating nearly $3bn of total franchise sales. Packs of Mountain Dew (500ml and 1ltr) feature an exclusive promotion for Halo 4, which launches exclusively on Xbox 360. The promotion gives consumers the chance to win one of four ’money can’t buy’, all expenses paid behind the scenes trips for two to meet the Halo 4 developers in Seattle.

Each promotional pack carries an individual code for consumers to register online to be in with a chance of winning the exclusive ’meet and greets’. Additionally, every day there are 40 copies of Halo 4 up for grabs.

The brand has also launched its first limited edition variant a raspberry flavoured energy drink called Game Fuel.

Charity appeal

Ocean Spray is taking the ’charity route’ for its latest promotion by supporting Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer awareness month campaign.

The activity has 50 Ocean Spray Harvest Bouquets up for grabs each day this month. To help raise funds for the charity’s vital work, Ocean Spray will be donating £5 from each of the Harvest Bouquets given away.

In addition, the Harvest Bouquets will also be available to the public to purchase from Arena Flowers’ online shop at £25 each and, throughout October, 20% of the purchase price will be donated to Cancer Research UK to support its breast cancer research.

Tara Levine, EMEA managing director of Ocean Spray International Services (UK), says: "Last year Ocean Spray teamed up with Reebok and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life events to get the nation bouncing their berries, resulting in over £25,000 being donated to the charity. This year Ocean Spray is proud to support Cancer Research UK once again and pledges to donate over £50,000 to the charity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month."

Major success

Promotional activity can have varying degrees of success but AG Barr has enjoyed great sales growth on the back of some of its recent promotions.

Last year, Irn-Bru ran ’Bru-Jet’, which turned out to be one of the brand’s biggest and most successful instant win on-pack promotions, resulting in a sales uplift of 22% versus the previous year (Nielsen data). The promotion gave away 100 all-inclusive, week-long holidays. This year’s summer promotion gave consumers the chance to experience a taste of tropical paradise by winning a holiday to a sun-drenched getaway destination Bru-Island.

Meanwhile, AG Barr’s energy drink Rockstar celebrated its biggest ever sponsorship agreement with MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo last year with an exciting on-pack promotion that led to record-breaking sales of 3.6 million cans in just two months (Nielsen). The brand gave consumers the chance to win a luxury trip to Valencia for the final race of the MotoGP season.

This year’s ’Rock Up & Party’, promotion is still live and it offers consumers the chance to win an exclusive party worth £10,000.

With their own personal party planner, the winner can create the party of their dreams by choosing the venue and the entertainment, all while enjoying the company of an entourage of Rockstar models and a VIP arrival.

The winner could live it up in London, party hard in Ibiza, rock out in Vegas or lay it down in their own town the choice is theirs. There is also a weekly draw where a consumer will receive a Rock Up & Party Kit, which includes Rockstar merchandise, product and a portable, wireless and Bluetooth-ready Bose Sound System.

Adrian Troy, head of marketing at AG Barr, says: "On-packs have played a key role in developing the Rockstar brand. They offer prizes our consumers will want to win so are guaranteed to be a huge success, generating incremental profits for retailers."

Rubicon has continued its Love Cricket campaign with a new on-pack promotion this year. Catch & Win currently appears on over 10 million packs, offering consumers the chance to win a Sky Sports HD Package and a HD television every week. One lucky shopper will also win an all-inclusive trip for two to Sri Lanka to meet Rubicon ambassador and cricket legend Muttiah ’Murali’ Muralitharan. Troy says: "Rubicon is the nation’s favourite exotic juice drink brand and continues to outperform the soft drinks market, growing at 21% (versus 5% Nielsen).

"Rubicon consumers love cricket and our on-pack promotions always prove to be incredibly successful. Last year’s Spin to Win promotion resulted in double-digit growth for the brand. We received over 27,000 entries to the competition, which is more than enough people to fill the world famous Oval cricket ground.

"We anticipate this year’s ’Catch & Win’ promotion will enjoy even more success and drive incremental profits for retailers."

Top tips for drinks sales

Ensure you are stocking the right range

Allow more space for the best sellers

Support any NPD

Take advantage of price-marked packs

Put premium brands in prime locations

Maximise promotional events

Position chillers and free-standing display units in key positions such as the front of the store

Create an ambient secondary display to direct customers to the chiller

Stock a range of sizes

Allocate space to growing sectors

Source: GSK

Retailer view

June Symonds, commercial manager, Symonds Forecourts:

"At our site in Gloucester city centre, our best-selling soft drink is the Red Bull can which is currently price-marked at £1.35. We usually don’t have many price-marked packs anywhere in the store if we can help it.

"Our next best seller is the Coke 500ml bottle followed by Musgrave’s Dart energy drink which obviously sells a lot cheaper than Red Bull.

"It’s been a so/so summer for soft drinks sales but it’s been hard work on all categories really.

"All our soft drinks are chilled even 2ltr bottles of Coke although we also have them dotted around the store as they sell well, especially near our busy alcohol section."

"We don’t do meal deals that include soft drinks as we have a Subway on site and they sell bottled drinks and coffee."

brand news

Inspired by the popularity of exotic drinks, GlaxoSmithKline is relaunching Lucozade Sport tropical as Lucozade Sport Caribbean burst. The name change builds on the success of the recently launched Lucozade Energy Caribbean crush price-marked pack, which has become the third best-performing Lucozade flavour in terms of rate of sale (Nielsen). Caribbean burst has bright red packaging and a distinctive bottle design to grab consumer attention. It is available in 500ml bottles, price-marked at 99p.

Pepsi Cherry Max is now available to forecourt stores in 2ltr bottles with a rrp of £1.99. The flavour was first launched last year exclusively to the grocery channel but, due to its success, is now being offered to convenience retailers.

The Shloer berry punch limited edition is returning following its success last autumn. It comes in a 75cl bottle, rrp £2.29. According to Nielsen data, berry punch attracted more than 300,000 new households to the Shloer brand last year. Berry punch limited edition will be backed by a consumer PR campaign; digital activity with its 42,000 fans on Facebook and the Shloer website (; and an e-newsletter sent to the brand’s database of 38,000 consumers. It will also benefit from the £16m marketing spend behind the Shloer brand this year, and will be included in autumn and Christmas promotions running across the brand portfolio.

Naturally-sourced sweetener Stevia extract is now included in Britvic’s Drench juicy spring water range. The addition is being communicated on-pack via the Stevia extract logo. The move follows the inclusion of Stevia extract in SoBe V Water earlier in the year.

Bestway has added two new flavours to its Stimulation energy drinks range. Exotic tropical and exotic berry flavours come in 39p price-marked cans, giving retailers a 36% profit on return.

Energy drinks brand Boost has an eye-catching new packaging design. The 500ml bottles of Boost Sport in orange, mixed berry and tropical berry flavours have been re-designed to create even greater standout on shelf and are available in price-marked bottles (65p) and non-price marked versions.

GSK says initial results for its new Ribena Plus are very encouraging with incremental sales for the category being generated by consumers adding the product to their repertoire. Ribena Plus is designed for two key audiences: young women and mums who are looking for extra ways to get ’goodness’ into their own diets as well as their family’s. It is available in four flavours: blackcurrant and apple & peach with added vitamins A and C to support immunity; mixed berries and apple & raspberry with added calcium for healthy bones.

Oasis is now available in a 12-pack case size to meet retailer demand for more flexible stock options. The new case is supported by a new shrinkwrap packaging design. The packs come in all five Oasis flavour varieties, as well as in 99p price-marked packs of summer fruits, citrus punch and blackcurrant apple variants. Darren Goldney, sales and customer development director at CCE, says: "Offering a 12-pack case option of Oasis allows us to offer retailers greater control over their stock. We expect the new cases to be popular with retailers wanting to stock the range, but who are conscious of the initial investment in stock. Oasis is a £64m brand (Nielsen) and is ranked the number-two juice drink in the impulse channel. We recommend retailers stock up ahead of its new marketing campaign, which will help to drive sales."

Following a product recall after problems with its spillproof cap, Fruit Shoot is back in distribution. A series of ’We’re back’ print and TV ads is being run to let parents and kids know the drink is available again. Britvic will focus on multi-pack availability for the multiple grocery channel and single-serve formats for the impulse channel first.

flavoured milk offers opportunity

Flavoured milk and milkshakes represent a big sales opportunity for forecourt stores, says Helen Cridge, trade marketing manager at Friesland Campina.

"The consumption of milk per capita is in decline, whereas flavoured milk and milkshakes are in growth, especially on-the-go where time-poor adults demand convenient value-for-money, high-quality products. In fact, just over 52 million milkshakes are consumed out-of-home per annum (Kantar Worldpanel).

"With an array of new entrants, flavoured milks have nearly doubled the choice for consumers over the past 18 months (from 16 lines in 2010 to an estimated 30 this year). The flavoured milk category continues to grow at 11.7% value (Nielsen) outperforming the total soft drinks market."

Cridge says Friesland Campina’s Yazoo’s popularity can be attributed to its healthier credentials, value for money and refreshing great taste.

"As the milkshake category is continuing to grow, stocking a strong chilled range will help to maximise sales opportunities, particularly among young men looking for a treat to perk them up on-the-go."

Yazoo was recently the subject of a packaging makeover, designed to reflect its healthier credentials with increased use of the colour white to represent the high milk content (94%).