Will Turbo Tango take off?

Screen shot 2011-07-06 at 09.38.45 Interesting new launch from soft drink brand Tango.

Turbo Tango is a new soft drink you spray in your mouth. Simon Stewart, marketing director at Britvic, describes it like this in an interview: "With Turbo Tango, we’ve come up with a world first that really is ‘soft drink meets squirty cream’."

Tango is a leader brand that lost its way, as I posted on here. It was the leading UK fizzy orange drink in the 1990's, out-selling Fanta by 2-1. The brand had a clear positioning, "the hit of the real fruit", highly impactful black packaging and great advertising. However, a series of dodgy brand extensions , each with a different positioning, coupled with Coke's increased investment behind Fanta, saw Tango go into a tailspin. Today Fanta's sales of c.£110million are 4x Tango's.

I'm betting it doesn't get rolled out nationally from its test. Please let me know what you think by adding a comment.

On the upside: distinctiveness and trial

The product is clearly new and different. And this should get some initial trial. As Simon says, "Teen consumers told us they found the category 'samey' and were ready for something genuinely new and different." He also reports that "The reaction to Turbo Tango has been amazing from consumers and customers – we’ve certainly never had teens trying to buy a pack from us in research before."

On the downside: regular repeatScreen shot 2011-07-06 at 09.26.39

My concern is that Turbo Tango could be a gimmick, which is fun the first time, but not someting that will get bought again and again. I struggle to see what consumer issue the product is solving, or what opportunity to make life better its creating. The only real benefit is novelty, and that will wear off.

It reminds me of Extra Thin Ice strips, which were thin little squares of what felt like cling film, that you put under your tongue for fresh breath. The new category exploded in the US, and I featured the product in my Brand Stretch book. However, after 5 years the product was withdrawn according to this report. It was not that nice to use, and just not really better than either gum or mints.

Question: taste experience

The thing which could save Turbo Tango is if the taste experience is great, and I haven't tried it yet. But it would need to be pretty amazing to make people want to buy it again and again.

Screen shot 2011-07-06 at 09.38.03 All this doesn't mean that brand teams shouldn't innovate. The challenge is to create something which genuinely adds value versus the current category, and so works its way into peoples' repertoires. A good example of this is Solero Shots, that brandgym partner David Nichols had a big hand in creating.The product is made of fruit flavoured ice balls, sold in a little stand-up canister.

This new product worked because it had some real benefits, inspired by looking outside of the ice cream category to soft drinks. It delivered the refreshment of an ice lolly. But it was "put-downable" and "gluggable" like a soft drink. And the in-mouth experience was enjoyable (melting balls of ice).

In conclusion, when working on your next innovation ask yourself it's adding value like Solero Shots, or more of a gimmick like Extra Thin Ice and, I'm guessing, Turbo Tango.