Coca-Cola launches first energy drink under the Coke brand

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The first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand will launch in Europe in April, the company announced today.

Coca-Cola Energy, which will debut in Spain and Hungary, features caffeine from naturally-derived sources, guarana extracts, B vitamins and no taurine – all with a great Coca-Cola taste and feeling that people know and love. A no-sugar, no-calorie option also will be available. Both will be offered in 250-ml cans.

Coca-Cola launches first energy drink under the Coke brand - Brand Spur

“Coca-Cola Energy includes ingredients from naturally-derived sources and a delicious and refreshing taste of Coca-Cola,” says Javier Meza, global chief marketing officer, sparkling business, The Coca-Cola Company “We kept these two qualities at the heart of how we developed the recipe and are proud to offer it under the Coca-Cola brand, inviting people to try a new and different energy drink that is designed to complement upbeat and busy lives.” Read a Q&A with Meza about Coca-Cola Energy.

As a total beverage company, Coca-Cola continues to evolve its portfolio to bring people more of the drinks they want – from organic teas to juices, to enhanced waters, to ready-to-drink coffees, to new variants of Coca-Cola. The launch of Coca-Cola Energy is the latest articulation of this strategy.

Visual identity and marketing campaign will support the launch of Coca-Cola Energy, which is designed primarily for young adults, age 18 to 35. The new brand will be promoted in line with The Coca-Cola Company’s responsible marketing guidelines. These include, in line with UNESDA (European Soft Drink Association) guidelines, no sampling in proximity to primary and secondary schools and never promoting mixing with alcohol.

Meza said there are plans to add other markets in the future. “We plan to introduce Coca-Cola Energy in additional countries through 2019 and 2020,” said Meza. “We will confirm plans and timings if a decision is made to launch this new brand in a certain market.”

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‘Total beverage’ transformation

Launching into new categories like energy drinks is an important milestone in Coca-Cola’s efforts to establish itself as a ‘total beverage’ company, much as PepsiCo is more reliant on its snacks than its soft drinks. That is to say, trademark Coca-Cola volumes are falling, so the company wants to diversify its revenues as much as it can.

James Quincey, the CEO of Coca-Cola, has previously said the company is “listening carefully and working to ensure that consumers are firmly at the centre of our business”

“If we embrace where the consumer is going, our brands will thrive and our system will continue to grow,” he said.

Quincey has previously refused to rule out a foray into alcohol – and indeed the company did launch its first ever alcoholic product for the Japanese market – while his ‘total beverage’ vision is epitomised by several recent launches.

Meza explains: “The launch of Coca-Cola Energy is in line with our work to diversify our legacy brands. This includes drinks such as Coca-Cola Plus Coffee… and the relaunch of Diet Coke in four new flavours. Coca-Cola Energy has a great Coca-Cola taste that people know and love with sweet and sour, fruity notes.”

The rationale for the transformation is clear: reducing sugar and offering sugar-free alternatives is a no-brainer, given the rise in consumer scrutiny and government intervention. But volumes have been falling too, and health-conscious consumers now drink more bottled water than they do CSDs – and without a change in thinking, that had the potential to hit Coke where it hurt.