Magazine article Marketing


Magazine article Marketing


Article excerpt

The cider brand's sales are falling fast, in contrast to its stablemate, Magners, writes Rachel Barnes.

When Magners owner C&C Group paid pounds 45m in 2009 for the Gaymers cider brand and its stablemates Olde English and Blackthorn, it surely had a vision to grow the business.

At the time of the acquisition, from Constellation Brands, analysts warned that C&C might be overreaching itself. One theory was that the purchase was made to protect Magners' premium positioning in a category where its sales were losing fizz.

Fast-forward to 2011, and Magners is in clover, with volumes up 14.9% and value sales up 11.5% for the three months to 31 May. However, the news is not so good for Gaymers.

As a multi-cider-brand company, C&C can't cite any downward trend for Gaymers' woes. Instead, it blames 'reduced activity at the lower-margin end of the portfolio' for a sales slide of 15% and volume hit of 22.2%.

While the high-profile 'Method in the Magners' ads continue to buoy the premium brand, Gaymers' marketing is centred on its presence at festivals - but it is clearly failing to make its way into revellers' weekly shopping baskets.

In C&C's results, it made clear its intention to invest further in the Magners brand. Does this mean that Gaymers will be left on second fiddle?

We asked former Molson Coors director of commercial innovation David Preston, now director of brand agency Elephants Can't Jump, and Andrew McGuinness, partner at Beattie McGuinness Bungay, which works on the Carling and Diageo accounts.


- Two experts offer advice on how C&C can reverse the Gaymers sales slide


Retailers have increased their interest in cider in the past five years, driven by greater margin potential than other alcoholic long drinks, as cider is subject to significantly less tax.

Consumer interest has increased too, built on the successful launch of Magners and its 'over ice' ritual. So there is brand and range proliferation and the retail space dedicated to cider increasing. It's a great opportunity.

Yet the C&C Group has announced that Gaymers' volumes have declined by 22%, not that long after the brand was repackaged and relaunched.

The root of the problem is the lack of originality in Gaymers Original.

It has no distinct market position. No differentiation in design, flavour, 'serve-ritual'

or communication. No clear role in the category's pricing ladder. No attempt at a deeper emotional connection. No reason to believe in the product.

Why would a consumer buy the brand? …

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