Cadbury Schweppes invests in Hispanics

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drink Brand Marketing

The US Hispanic population forms a core consumer base for drinks
giant Cadbury Schweppes, which is confident this segment will drive
growth amidst a general environment of declining soft drinks sales.

Cadbury Schweppes' Hispanic Marketing brand manager told in an interview last week that the firm plans to increase its marketing efforts and product selection for this consumer group.

"We really have some good opportunities to go after," said Stephanie Bazan.

These include specifically targeting the Mexican aisle with new launches, as well as focusing marketing efforts on familiarizing Hispanic immigrants with existing brands that match their flavor preferences.

"Since our Hispanic marketing department was formed in 2004 it's seen good growth, and there is only room for more growth and more activity.

It's low hanging fruit for us if you take into consideration how well our brands match the Hispanic taste profile."

Hispanics, she said, tend to over-index on flavors.

"They love their full-flavor, full-sugar products.

They're also strong on citrus flavors such as lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit.

A lot of the brands we already have appeal to these taste, like 7UP, Sunkist and Squirt, which is a leading brand in Mexico."

Cadbury Schweppes is focusing its efforts on those it calls 'first generation foreign-born Spanish-dominant Hispanics', and one strategy the firm is employing to capture these consumers is to present them with products they are already familiar with from their country of origin.

The firm said it has plans to bring another of its popular Mexican brands over the boarder, for precisely this reason.

Penafiel, a soda that comes in a number of flavors including grapefruit and mandarin, is due to be launched in the US around summer this year.

But Cadbury Schweppes is not just relying on attracting Hispanic consumers through brands they already know.

A core part of its Hispanic marketing strategy is to introduce consumers to existing brands that match their taste profile but that they may not already be familiar with.

In order to achieve this, the firm is taking a two-pronged approach: using advertising to make consumers visually familiar with a brand, then conducting sampling to introduce them to the taste.

This strategy was used to promote Dr Pepper to Hispnaics.

"It's a flavor, and since Hispanics over-index on flavors we saw no reason why they shouldn't like it," said Bazan.

The company focused on initiatives to make consumers return to the brand, such as special offers or give-aways with the purchase of multi-packs.

"If a family buys two multi packs, that's 24 cans into a household - and Hispanic households tend to be much bigger, so if you've got 24 cans in then you get everyone from kids to grandmothers trying the product."

The strategy has had positive results: according to Bazan, Dr Pepper was first launched in five Hispanic markets, and has now been expanded to 20.

And this expansion is reflected in sales of the brand.

"When you see all other carbonated soft drink categories declining, and Dr Pepper is growing, you know these efforts have worked.

Hispanics are one of the key markets to drive this brand's growth," she said.

The firm started targeting Hispanics in Texas, before expanding to other regions throughout the nation.

"It's a no-brainer really.

You look at the Hispanic population and where it is largest, and that's where you target first," said Bazan.

Cadbury Schweppes has started a Hispanic marketing initiative in Chicago, and also has plans to target the East Coast, but said it is too early to reveal any specifics.

"The Hispanic market is a big opportunity for us.

It's just a matter of how fast we can go, and whether we can get in there before the competition."

Bazan will be speaking next week at Expo Comida Latina Texas in Houston.

The event, which brings together industry members for an insight into new ideas and products in the Hispanic food and beverage market, will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center on April 23 and 24.

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