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    Me and My Brand: Elaine Maher of CCEP

    Elaine Maher

    ‘Cold is sold’ – Elaine Maher, Associate Director, Alcoholic-Ready-To-Drink at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, tells us how their RTDs are perfect drinks for the summer


    Please give an overview of your brand

    I’ve got more than one to talk about! I head up the alcoholic ready-to-drink (ARTD) team at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, and I’ve overseen two big launches in the past 18 months as we’ve taken our brands into alcohol for the first time: Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola (with and without sugar) and Absolut Vodka & SPRITE.

    I’m not sure our brands need a huge amount of introduction; Coca-Cola is the number one soft drink in GB1 and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is the fastest-growing major cola brand in volume terms2. SPRITE is globally renowned for its refreshment – and the credentials of the spirits brands we’re working with speak for themselves.

    By pairing our iconic soft drinks brands with premium alcohol brands, we knew we had a unique opportunity, together with our customers, to take advantage of the growing £552m3 ARTD opportunity in GB – responding to consumer demand for more premium pre-mixed whiskey and cola, and vodka and lemonade options.

    Do you have any NPD?

    We’ve had some exciting developments on Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola Zero Sugar this year, with a refreshed packaging design (a bright red collar on the can and shelf-ready packaging trays!) that more clearly differentiates it from the Original Taste variant and helps retailers tap into the opportunity for zero-sugar options.

    We know our zero-sugar variant has great potential, reflecting the fact two thirds of the soft drinks we sell in GB are now low or no sugar4. It’s generated around 16 per cent of our Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola range sales5 so far but with a new more differentiated-looking can we’re confident that this will only increase.

    Me and My Brand: Elaine Maher of CCEP

    We’ve also launched Absolut Vodka & SPRITE this year which was another big moment for us. Our focus for now is on helping the products we’ve got in market to reach their full potential – but we’ll always explore new opportunities to make sure that our portfolio is giving shoppers what they want.

    How is your brand currently performing? How important are independent retailers to your brand?

    The Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola ARTD range has generated nearly £34m6 worth of sales since it launched in March 2023, and we’ve already got the largest value SKU in the category7.

    As for Absolut Vodka & SPRITE, it’s early days but initial feedback from retailers and shoppers has been great – about the appeal of the product on shelf and how refreshing it is to drink.

    Independent retailers are massively important to us – we know that 70 per cent of ARTDs are consumed within two hours of purchase8, and that purchases are often made with impromptu social occasions in mind. Much of ARTDs’ appeal is the convenience of a bar-quality format in a can – so convenience is where it’s at! We like to say “cold is sold” – so keep them chilled to take full advantage.

    Convenience retailers can request POS and digital assets from My.CCEP.com, including chiller shelf trays and eye-catching clip strips to hang on shelf to deliver standout on the fixture and inspire those spontaneous planned purchases.

    What trends are occurring in the sector?

    We like to think we’re setting the trends! For us it’s about premiumisation and the power of brands. With Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola and Absolut Vodka & SPRITE we’re giving adult consumers premium ARTD drinking experiences from the iconic brands they love – not to mention giving retailers fantastic looking co-branded SKUs that attract shoppers to the fixture.

    Me and My Brand: Elaine Maher of CCEP

    Our strategy is around using premiumisation to encourage existing ARTD shoppers to trade up, while getting shoppers that are loyal to the individual soft drink and spirit brands in our products to enter the ARTD category – quite possibly for the first time.

    How are you supporting your brand and NPD?

    We’re busy building momentum behind Absolut Vodka & SPRITE with our “Planned for the Unplanned” summer campaign, which is running until August. Ultimately we want to keep the product front of mind with consumers this summer, when they’re on-the-go and when they’re socialising with family and friends.

    The digitally-led campaign includes PR, social media and influencer activity, and is expected to reach 70 per cent of our target audience (18–34-year-olds), highlighting that Absolut Vodka & SPRITE is convenient for unplanned occasions at home, in the garden or whilst in the park with friends.

    There’s more to come on Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola this summer as well, including the return of our Born Ready marketing campaign, and activation alongside Absolut & SPRITE at the iconic Brighton Pride event.

    Describe your brand in three words

    Made for summer!


    1 Nielsen Total GB MAT val and vol WE 24.03.24

    2 Nielsen Total GB MAT vol WE 24.03.24

    3 Nielsen Total RTD Value MAT 23.03.24

    4 This is Forward Action Plan FY 2023

    5 Nielsen Total RTD Value MAT 23.03.24

    6 Nielsen Total RTD Value MAT 23.03.24

    7 Nielsen Total RTD Value MAT 23.03.24

    8 BEACH is the global consumer measurement system for the Coca-Cola Company (6,330 GB Consumers)

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