innocent is not so innocent after all
You read it here first, back in June 2007: "The real risk for innocent is the sell-out. Indeed, my money goes on Coke to be the one who
swallows Innocent." Last week came news confirming that innocent had sold its soul, or at least 20% of it, to Coke for a cool £30million.
Of course, the founders protested that this would in no way undermine the company's positioning. Everything will stay the same. Honest. Supporters of the deal quote examples like Cadbury's aqusition of Green & Blacks to show that everything will be fine and dandy.
I'm not so sure. I think the innocent case is quite different. And as I said back in 2007, I think there are reasons to worry:
1. We really did believe in Santa
innocent has been very clever and very consistent in hard-selling the tale of a cute little company making "tasty little drinks". We really did believe in the company like we believed in Santa Claus as kids. All that knitting of woolly hats by little fruit-elves. Banana phones to call. And this emotional "sizzle" was part of the appeal for a lot of buyers.
This is now a lot harder to swallow knowing that it aint a private little company anymore. Its one step from being a subsidiary of the giant from Atlanta.
2. innocent users do give a toss
innocent users are very involved in the brand. And bought the Santa story described above. They loved it when times were good and helped it grow.
But a lot of them are now very pissed off. I think they are more pissed off than Green & Blacks users when Cadbury bought them. There are 304 comments on the innocent blog post on the deal. And most or all of these are negative. Now, some experts estimate that less than 1% of blog readers bother to comment. So that would mean 30,000 pissed off people. If they each tell 10 people what they think you can see how it becomes a big issue.
Here are the latest few comments from the blog; as you can see, all but one very angry: