The Coca-Cola Company is the world's biggest drinks company, controlling more than half the global market in carbonated soft drinks as well as a substantial chunk of the somewhat larger non-carbonated segment. It owns four of the world's five best-selling soft drinks. Its principal brand is of course Coca-Cola itself, the world's best-known and most valuable non-technology brand. But the company also sells more than 500 other beverage brands ranging from variants like Diet Coke and sister products such as Fanta and Sprite to a vast range of carbonated and non-carbonated juice-based drinks, bottled waters, iced teas and coffees. Increasingly Coca-Cola has found that its sheer size works against it. Competition authorities now watch the company's every move, effectively ruling out the acquisition of anything other than marginal products; and market saturation, economic downturns in both emerging and mature markets and health concerns caused sales growth to stall for more than a decade. Since 2006, though, the company's performance has begun to fizz once again, mainly through aggressive development of non-cola products, including bottled water.
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The Adbrands Company Profile of Coca-Cola summarises the brand's history and current market position.
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Adbrands Social Media 30th May 2018: Famously, Coca-Cola this week launched its first ever alcoholic beverage in Japan. New Lemon-do is a chu-hi, the Japanese equivalent to so-called 'alcopops' sold in Western markets like Mike's Hard Lemonade or Hooch. Lemon-do is being tested in Southern Japan in three different versions with 3%, 5% and 7% alcohol by volume, presumably to see which one Japanese customers favour. Here's the launch ad: there are no subtitles or credits, but the gist of the ad is that the female customer is surprised to discover that the cocktail being made for her by her handsome bartender - played by local star Hiroshi Abe - contains the pulp of a whole lemon. It's the little things that count, obviously.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Mar 2018: Coca-Cola is to launch its first-ever alcoholic beverage in Japan, named Lemon-do, as a tentative step into the popular "chu-hi" market. Chu-hi are the local version of what Western markets know as "alcopops", sweetened often brightly coloured canned or bottled beverages with an alcohol content similar to beer, usually targeting female drinkers. They are usually made from sho-chu, a local distilled spirit, mixed with sparkling water. "We haven't experimented in the low-alcohol category before," said Jorge Garduno, president of Coca-Cola Japan, "but it's an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas." He said that an international roll-out of this or any other alcoholic beverages was unlikely.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Feb 2018: Coca-Cola Company, however, beat analysts' expectations, despite a decline in revenues from the spin-off its bottling operations, a continuing slump for Diet Coke and a whopping great tax adjustment. Revenues of $35.4bn were down 15% on a reported basis, but the comparable organic lift excluding bottling was 3%. Drinks volumes were flat for the year as regional declines in Latin America were offset by growth in Europe and Asia, and another dip in global carbonates was offset by growth in water, sports drinks, tea and coffee. Operating income was down 13%, but a one-off tax adjustment of $3.6bn in 4Q caused net income to plunge by 81% to $1.25bn. "Clearly one of our points of dissatisfaction in 2017 was that we were not able to turn around Diet Coke," said VP, investor relations Tim Leveridge. "However, the team have come up with strong plan for 2018 with new flavours, can design, size and some of the marketing. Diet Coke is hopefully going to have a better year in 2018. We're finding the path forward."
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Oct 2017: Coca-Cola acquired Mexican-American premium sparkling water Top Chico (or "little mole") for $220m. The water originates at a natural source in Northern Mexico, but the bulk of its sales are in the southern US, primarily Texas. The brand is already bottled and distributed by one of Coke's Mexican bottling partners.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th May 2017: Another senior Coca-Cola marketer is leaving the company following a shake-up of operations under new CEO James Quincey. Former Naked partner Ivan Pollard, SVP, strategic marketing for the past six years, is leaving with immediate effect. Unusually for such a change, several influential former Coke marketers chimed in on the decision to suggest that Pollard's loss was a mis-step by the company. Wendy Clark, who now heads DDB North America, tweeted that Pollard is "One of the most talented people I've had the pleasure of working with. A sad day at the home of happiness." AirBnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall responded with an endorsement of Clark's comment. Pollard is, he said, “a brilliant marketer & a g8 human being. If I were in charge there’s no way I wd let him leave. It’s just bad brand mgt."
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