As Coke looks to clip Red Bull’s wings with the launch of Coke Energy, we debate the pros and cons of the brand’s big move…

With the announcement this week that Coke is looking to clip Red Bull’s wings with the launch of its first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand came a buzz of debate in the office... Is Coke Energy set to liven up the category, or will it fall flat?

Associate Director Emeline Mettavant applauds the launch as smart move…

With the energy segment one of the fastest growing in the beverage category, it is only logical that The Coca Cola Company maximises opportunities to get its fair share of this space. So far they have mostly played in the energy segment with partnerships, with brands like Monster and Burn, and sometimes with owned brands like Nalu. Coca-Cola Energy is a new way to approach a segment of Millennials who over-index on Energy Drink consumption but don’t feel good about them.

The future growth of the Energy Drink will be found in natural ingredients and in hybrids, and Coke understands this. Coke Plus Coffee was their first experiment dabbling into the energy need state; now with an Energy sub-brand, Coke is definitely blurring the lines between category segments – mainstream refreshment and energy. This will be a merchandising challenge, but it’s exciting to see for marketing strategists like us. Can a Coke-led and flavoured energy drink normalise and take ‘energy’ even more mainstream? This could be a huge volume opportunity and a potential PR target. Interesting times ahead, watch the shelves and column inches closely!

…Whilst Senior Consultant Tom Speed has a few words of warning for the brand…

Although I applaud Coca-Cola’s move into energy, I’m not sure about its decision to use the Coke master brand to do so. Clearly there is an internal strategy at Coke to invest heavily in the master brand, evident in its well-publicised decision to bring Classic Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero closer together. However, if recent share prices are anything to go by, with Coke’s stock down 4% in 2019, in contrast to Pepsi being up 6%, this strategy seems to have not yet proven effective.

Is the Coke master brand becoming less appealing to the masses, weighed-down by historic high sugar connotations? I’d say Coke should focus on building their family of brands within the portfolio. They would perhaps be better placed building up a non-Coke energy brand (or acquiring a competitor in the space), rather than relying on the Coke master brand halo.

Either way, Coke Energy looks set to bring the buzz in the coming months, and we’ll be excitedly watching from the sidelines.

BY ENGINEER Value Engineers

info@thevalueengineers.com