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The right brands at the right time power Coke. (Marketplace 2003/Corporate Profiles).

ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. supplies the No. 1 brands in drug stores in the soft drink category, diet and lemon-lime soft drink categories and single-serve water category.

Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Dasani lead those segments, respectively, and serving retailers through category leadership is Coca-Cola's raison d'etre, says Ashley Methvin, drug channel customer marketing manager for the company's retail marketing group.

"It's all about being No. 1 for our customers," remarks Methvin.

Reflecting that philosophy are the many novel initiatives being undertaken by Coca-Cola this year on behalf of its brands.

For all of its offerings Coca-Cola drives performance and growth through innovation and the right brands at the right time, she says.

The success of Vanilla Coke, Diet Vanilla Coke, the Coca-Cola Fridge Pack and Diet Coke with lemon have demonstrated how consumers flock to what's new, observes Methvin.

Just as the launch of Vanilla Coke in 2002 helped boost sales of Coca-Cola branded beverages while inviting new customers to rediscover the cola category through a completely original flavor experience, the company's latest introduction, Sprite Remix, is helping drive excitement in the lemon-lime segment, she notes.

The first extension of the Sprite brand since diet Sprite in 1983, Sprite Remix hit the streets nationwide during the week of May 12. So far it is selling at a rate approaching that of Vanilla Coke, which was one of the most successful product launches in the beverage industry in recent years.

Sprite Remix was developed as away to appeal to Sprite's core market, a diverse group of young adults who drink a lot of different beverages.

Like DJs who take hit songs and remake or "remix" them, layering their own beats and rhythms, the Sprite brand team's research showed consumers were taking Sprite and doing a bit of remixing on their own, adding orange juice and Skittles candy to personalize the flavor experience.

The Sprite brand team took things a step further, adding tropical flavor to put a twist on Sprite's original lemon and lime flavor.

"We took the great heritage of Sprite, the clear look and the crisp taste and made sure Sprite Remix brought those key elements to life," explains John Carroll, group director for Sprite. "It's a clear drink, and its taste still has that lemon-lime flavor."

On the horizon is anew Sprite advertising campaign, new graphics and initiatives to help accelerate diet Sprite's growth as well. The television spot, which broke Memorial Day weekend on MTV, BET, broadcasts of the NBA playoffs and on nationally syndicated shows, features a remix of the James Brown song "Make it Funky," performed by Pharrell and the Neptunes.

The campaign includes radio, billboards and print ads in such youth-oriented magazines as Rolling Stone and Vibe, starting with the editions that hit newsstands in June. Marketing supporting Sprite Remix includes the "Remix Lab" on sprite.com, where users can create their own song mixes.

Diet Coke is the drug store shoppers' diet soft drink of choice. Wanting to extend the successful "Do What Feels Good" campaign introduced in 2002, Coca-Cola marketing strategists focused on the popular drink's target market of 25- to 49-year-olds and launched three new commercials this past April, tying them to movies--one of the audience's favorite forms of entertainment. The commercials will run on TNT, TBS and in local markets through September.

"By showing Diet Coke as the inspiration to spontaneous moments of pleasure the advertising magnifies the benefit of true pleasure that comes from drinking a Diet Coke," comments Esther Lee, chief creative officer. "Diet Coke embodies a 'Do What Feels Good' approach to life, because it is all about living life with more pleasure, if not indulgence, since it delivers great taste without the guilt."

The campaign resonates with Diet Coke's most loyal drinkers.

Noncarbonated beverages continued to post double-digit growth in 2002, led by Dasani, Minute Maid Lemonade and Powerade.

Coca-Cola has been successful in strategically building a water business that enhances its offerings to drug store customers. Through acquisitions and licensing agreements completed in 2002 (Evian and Danone), it has a family of products with multiple price points and packaging choices. Together with Dasani, the No. 1 single-serve water in drug stores, Coca-Cola has become one of the leading players in the water category in both unit and dollar volume.

Additionally, the company built from scratch a new "adult juice refreshment" category with the successful Minute Maid Lemonade, now the No. 1 single-serve fruit drink in the drug channel.

Coca-Cola Co.

1 Coca-Cola Plaza Atlanta, Ga. 30313

Key contact:

Mart Martin, Communications Director

Web site: coca-colacompany.com

Phone: (404) 676-3445

Fax: (404) 676-6792

Primary business:

CONSUMABLES

Beverages

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Title Annotation:innovation and launching the right brands drives performance and growth at Coca-Cola Co.
Comment:The right brands at the right time power Coke. (Marketplace 2003/Corporate Profiles).(innovation and launching the right brands drives performance and growth at Coca-Cola Co.)
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 9, 2003
Words:774
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