Tropicana Spirit: Another victim of Pepsi’s portofolio pruning

Last week I posted on Pepsico's culling of PJ Smoothies. Well, this was not the only victim. Tropicana Spirit, a sparkling fruit drink, was also killed, less than 9 months after its high profile £5million launch.

What might have gone so badly wrong with this new launch?

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1. Lack of emotional sizzle

To be successful fizzy soft drinks need, well, a bit of fizz. Some "emotional sizzle" and lifestyle values. Coke is about optimism and happiness. Diet Coke is "Sex and the City" in a bottle. Tango was rebellious and funny.

One problem with Tropicana Spirit was that the Tropicana brand lacked any such lifestyle values. It was more of a "Sausage" brand, focused on a great tasting, natural and healthy product. This is reflected in packaging that was OK, but lacked any pizzaz. In contrast, brands like Firefly and innocent's This Water have more distinctive personalities.

2. Lack of stamina to create a new category/sub-brand
The launch spend of £5million was pretty heavy. But Pepsi pulled the plug quite quickly. And way before Tropicana Spirit could pull off the difficult task of creating a new category of more adult, healthy and sophisticated soft drinks. People needed educating about what "Spirit" meant, whereas "This Water" is much easier to decode.

Shame, as the product itself sounded pretty good (it disappeared so fast I never got a chance to try it):
– 70% juice and 30% lightly sparkling mineral water
– No added sugar
– No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives

3. Brand ego tripping
Tropicana Spirit had to fight not one but two bunches of bully boys. The soft drinks brand, including parent Pepsi and Coke. And on the other hand there are all the water brands who are doing flavoured water, such as Volvic and Fruit.