Carbonated soft drinks face an increasingly hostile environment, with consumer health concerns continuing to pressure sales across the board. This includes the diet segment, with consumers being lost to non-soda categories both on health grounds and due to perceptions that diet sodas are experientially inferior to their full-calorie siblings. This has led a number of major producers to experiment with so-called mid-calorie sodas, which offer a taste/flavor experience closer to the original full-calorie product but with a much reduced (but not zero) calorie count. Results to date have been mixed, however, showing a number of weaknesses in the concept.
Although not a failure in the fullest sense of the word, TEN has not been the all-out success that Dr Pepper's investment in the brand suggested the company hoped it would be. Mid- or low-calorie soft drinks sit in an uncomfortable position between the options consumers are most likely to choose – zero-calorie or the standard product.
The audience for low to mid-calorie soft drinks like the TEN range may be a transitory one; companies rely on capturing sales from those looking for lower calories but not satisfied by diet soft drinks' tastes. However, those consumers are still likely to migrate to zero-calorie drinks or ultimately out of the perceived unhealthy category altogether.
As the original marketing campaign for TEN demonstrated, poorly judged demographic clichés can be very damaging to a product's chances, and hurt the overall umbrella brand. It can call into question the strategic decision-making of the brand owner and the values it may (or may not) have as a business.
Failure Case Study: Dr Pepper TEN is part of Canadean's Successes and Failures research. It examines the details of and reasons behind the failure of Dr Pepper's TEN platform, the business's mid-calorie soft drink product.It delivers the critical what?, why?, and so what? analysis to teach you crucial lessons that increase your chances of launching successful products.
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