The Coca-Cola Company launches Coca-Cola Energy
Available in Spain & Hungary from April 2019
Right about now the Coca-Cola Company is launching Coca-Cola Energy in Spain and Hungary. Other European markets are reportedly set to follow later in 2019 / 2020.
Caffeine, Guarana extracts and B-Vits
The new drink comes in full sugar (26g / serve) and zero sugar versions, packaged in 250ml slim cans. Building on the familiar Cola base, Coca-Cola Energy is charged with 80mg of caffeine, together with Guarana extracts and B Vitamins. By comparison, a regular can of Coke has about 24mg of caffeine per 250ml.
There’s no Taurine however (an ingredient linked to increased mental performance, especially when ingested alongside caffeine). Taurine is found in both Red Bull and Monster Energy. The absence of Taurine may be down to taste profile: the brand must maintain enough of its namesake Cola taste to stay true to its essence and differentiate against other energy beverages. But with Guarana and B-Vits in the mix there will be other taste notes (e.g. sour / fruity notes). We’ll be interested to taste the new product when it makes it to the UK.
A Strategy to Diversify Legacy Brands
According to the Company line the launch of Coca-Cola Energy is part of a strategy to diversify legacy brands. The marketing objective is to extend the occasionality of Coke by appealing to energy hungry consumers, pitting the brand against the likes of Red Bull and Lucozade, amongst others.
A Return to Form?
Red Bull’s founder Dietrich Mateschitz is known to have said that the gap for Red Bull opened-up because the meaning of Cola evolved, from that of replenishment drink to regular soda. As formulas changed to move with the times (especially the late 90s move towards zero calorie) Coke lost its functional role, becoming a taste choice, amongst many taste choices. You could argue that Coca-Cola Energy represents a return to form.
Will Consumers Be Convinced?
The big energy brands have become huge franchises with massive social media marketing and engagement budgets. Red Bull runs two Formula One teams. Meanwhile Cola brands have struggled to stay relevant as younger consumers increasingly see them as part of the old industrial CSD world. Given the context this is a bold move for Coke to make. You can’t question the power of the Coca-Cola marketing and distribution machine. But at the level of everyday brand choice, how powerful is the allure of a generic Cola energy sub-brand when set against pure-play energy propositions? Does it stack up in terms of energy delivery? Will the format and design appeal to teens, versus Monster / Relentless? Is it enough? It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of consumer take-up and cannibalisation.