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Mar 04, 2005

Makeover for Powerade bottle

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© Reuse this Coca-Cola’s concentrated version of its sports drink, Powerade, has undergone a makeover – the bottle has been made more durable, reuseable and versatile, while a trimmer and more ergonomic shape has been adopted, Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa marketing manager of adult brands Roger Gauntlett tells Engineering News.

He says that the new bottle is made of an opaque high-density polyethylene.

The previous bottle was made of clear polyethylene terephthalate.

Gauntlett says that the new look and feel will be sportier and trimmer, making it more user-friendly for athletes, while the enhanced packaging graphics will ensure improved brand visibility in the trade.

The new packaging is more functional, focusing on the needs of today’s sportsperson, while the more widely available ready-to-drink Powerade pack becomes a beverage used by a broader consumer base for wider drinking occasions. Gauntlett says that “your more hard-core athletes, for whom training is more frequent and time-consuming, primarily buy the concentrate and Powerade becomes an integral part of the sports- person’s preparation and recovery routine”. The ready-to-drink and concentrate bottles will also be more versatile, as the sports cap or nozzle of the ready-to-use Powerade can be put on the new concentrate bottle to use it as a squeeze bottle, he says, adding that the new label on the bottle will also be more effective than the label which was attached with an adhesive.

“Every time the bottle is washed, the label comes off and, from a brand perspective, you are throwing away a great opportunity for branding,” Gauntlett says. He reports that the new bottle is part of the company’s overall Powerade-packaging strategy, which is to stay on the leading edge of functional packaging.

Gauntlett also sees the constantly-changing sports environment as an important factor in the packaging of sports drinks. “You need to anticipate what will happen in sports trends and subsequent changes in equipment design within the sport industry,” he says, stressing the importance of adopting new trends. Powerade concentrate was introduced on to the market in November 2000, but production was hampered by the growing demand for Powerade ready-to-drink. The increase in Powerade’s market share from 2001 until now has enabled the company to introduce a second manufacturing facility.

The company now has manufacturing facilities in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, Gauntlett says. The new bottle was not redesigned from a manufacturing point of view, but from a consumer perspective, Amalgamated Beverage Industries’ alternative beverage manager Roston Bibb says, adding that the packaging still needed to be affordable, efficient and cost-effective.

The new bottle is available in most top-end retail stores, Bibb says, adding that the new packaging has already penetrated about 80% of the market, with 100% penetration being anticipated by mid-March, when the ‘previous bottle’ has sold through.

Gauntlett says that, with the concentrated Powerade being positioned against serious sportspeople, big brand sponsorships like the Argus Cycle Tour and Super 12 rugby will be used to communicate the new product.

He thinks that the sports-drink category is reaching maturity and that it is currently under a degree of threat, especially from increased activity in the bottled-water and flavoured-water categories, with which it competes indirectly. Powerade and Energade control the category in volume and value.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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