Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nestea Refills An Old Strategy

Although beverage marketers have witnessed a steady decline in soda consumption over the last decade, in most cases, the losses have been offset by similar gains in the exploding flavored water, juice and tea categories.

However, one brand that isn't feeling the effects of the tea drinking boom times in the United States is Nestea.  The brand hasn't grown along with the category despite being an early entrant into it.  According to Rick Tanner, the Vice President of Marketing for Nestea Waters, "the brand hasn't been actively communicated in a decade" and has suffered more recently due to it's partnership with Coca-Cola ending in 2012.

Nestea has an interesting problem.  In the United States, it was an early mover into the category and consumers are familiar with the brand, but it's no longer top of mind in a category that's overflowing with options.  

However, Nestea's solution to this problem is a lot less interesting.  The company recently relaunched the its "Take the Nestea Plunge" campaign that was first introduced in the 1970's.  Yet, I question whether refreshing this strategy is a good idea under today's drastically different circumstances.  Does it really make sense for consumers to "take the plunge" into something that's familiar and well-established?  Furthermore, today's tea drinkers aren't really "taking a plunge" into something different as much as it is becoming an everyday preference.

The only meaningful angle that the "take the plunge" campaign communicates with consumers is Nestea's "great new taste" claim this time around.  Still, these three magic words are mysteriously absent from the latest television spot.

I believe that "taking a plunge" into tea was a lot more impactful thirty years ago when fewer brands were competing for share and soda still ruled store shelves.  I doubt that dusting off this same strategy will earn back any significant market share for Nestea.  The category has evolved and today the Nestea brand feels like an artifact.  In order to change this, it needs to take a new position against the competition.

Perhaps one position they could take is the home brewing of tea.  Many brands are targeting the single-serve bottles; however, I believe there is vast opportunities to reach consumers looking to brew it at home.  

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

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