Bisleri makes a fizzy return; launches carbonated drinks

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Updated: February 10, 2020 12:47:39 PM

2016, it had launched sub-brand Bisleri Pop with four variations of carbonated soft drinks — Limonata, Spyci, Pina Colada and Fonzo

Bisleri, Limonata, Spyci, Pina Colada, Fonzo, Bisleri popThe relaunch of Spyci and Limonata is being led mainly by outdoor and digital advertising.

Packaged drinking water company Bisleri has decided to venture into fizzy waters yet again; the company, which had first forayed into carbonated drinks in 2016, had received a lukewarm response back then. It had tried to launch a sub-brand Bisleri Pop with four variations of carbonated soft drinks — Limonata, Spyci, Pina Colada and Fonzo in 2016, but when these didn’t take off, it exited the market quickly, only to return in mid-2018 with Fonzo, a mango-flavoured fizzy drink.

Bisleri has now brought back Limonata, its lime and mint flavoured drink, and Spyci, its take on the masala cola flavour. The company aims to corner 25% of its business through carbonated fruit drinks over the next two years. Currently, fizzy drinks account for only 5-7% of Bisleri’s sales volumes.

What’s new?

Anjana Ghosh, director, marketing and business development, Bisleri International, says that what is different this time around is that the fizzy drinks do not have artificial flavouring and have less sugar as compared to those introduced in 2016.

“There was a need for healthier alternatives in the carbonated drink segment and we have therefore reformulated our drinks to appeal to the 18-35 age group,” says Ghosh.

The relaunch of Spyci and Limonata is being led mainly by outdoor and digital advertising. “This year our focus is on distribution and sampling,” says Ghosh. The brand is running a ‘Buy 1, Get 1 Free’ offer as part of its sampling drive, apart from associating with youth events and shows.
For distribution, general trade has been targetted and the company will supplement this with a presence at HoReCas and modern trade outlets. The drinks will be available in two SKUs — 250 ml (`20) and 600 ml (`35); this is comparable with Coca-Cola’s 600 ml bottle that sells at `38, and Pepsi, whose 600 ml bottle is priced at `35.

Beating the biggies

Bisleri’s Fonzo benefitted from the advertising blitzkrieg during the 2018 IPL. Unfortunately, both Spyic and Limonata are competing against well-established, popular drinks. The soft drinks market in India was worth approximately `92, 419 crore in 2019 as per Euromonitor International; Coca-Cola and Pepsi alone accounted for 37% share within this pie.

Interestingly, the ‘healthier’ product formulation isn’t being highlighted in its advertising. This is a conscious choice the brand has made, as “we don’t want to talk about the healthy aspects of our drinks as that is a serious category on its own,” notes Ghosh. The company is instead relying on taste and flavour as selling points.

But it won’t be an easy task. “When a brand that has flopped in the past makes a comeback, it has to communicate its new features/offerings and explain what is doing differently this time to consumers,” points out Pratap Suthan, chief creative officer and co-founder, Bang In The Middle.

Bisleri’s challenge is perhaps to win consumers without mass media advertising and a marginal price differentiation. According to Samit Sinha, founder and managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, “In the absence of big advertising budgets and price differentiation, the brand has to believe that the product itself will carry the message through extensive sampling.”

Despite Bisleri’s wide distribution network, the three carbonated drinks are currently available only in the top cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Hyderabad. Analysts suggest that this could be attributed to the company’s low risk appetite.

Amulya Pandit, senior analyst, Euromonitor International, says, “Regional companies don’t have the risk appetite or resources like large MNCs. They extend their offerings in only one state at a time. Therefore, it takes them substantial time to market their offerings to other states.”

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