Marketing Case Study
1. When 7-UP introduced itself into the soft drink industry, they were generally thought of by consumers as a company that produced a clear soft drink for mixing alcoholic beverages. After conducting extensive research, 7-UP found that colas were the best-selling category in the soft drink industry.
7-UP then repositioned itself in the market by introducing the slogan, “7-UP, the uncola.” This repositioning allowed them to take third place in the market, after Coca Cola and Pepsi, and also allowed for growth and gains over competitors in the lemon-lime category of soft drinks. In addition, 7-UP differentiates itself from other soft drink manufacturers in several ways. Within the lemon-lime category, 7-UP has introduced a new tagline, “all things in green bottles are not the same.” This tagline is meant to differentiate 7-UP from Sprite and Sierra Mist. Two other new taglines will include “for less sweet, syrupy taste, the only way to go is Up” and “When you add it all up, the only way to go is Up” (Wikipedia).
2. 7-UP was able to change consumer behavior by using psychology and working with the concept that everyone wants to be an individual. When introducing the “uncola” tagline, 7-UP based this introduction on consumer research. Purchasing and consuming Coke and Pepsi were part of going along with the group since many people were purchasing those products at the time. Introducing 7-UP as the “uncola” brought to mind a sense of individuality for consumers. The 7-UP marketing executives put the idea in their heads that purchasing and consuming 7-UP products would make them stand out from the crowd. 7-UP has continued this tradition of changing consumer behavior since that time.
The company hopes to change consumer behavior in the twenty-first century by introducing a product called 7-UP Plus. This product will create a whole new category within the soft drink industry, as it is going to be sold as a soft drink with added nutritional value. Again, 7-UP is basing the introduction of this product on consumer trends and research. Due to the obesity epidemic in America, combined with raised health awareness on the part of many men and women, 7-UP will be introducing this reduced sugar product with added vitamins and minerals. Introducing this product shows that 7-UP is on top of trends in consumer spending and, by introducing this product, the executives may be able to change consumer behavior from purchasing sugar-laden soft drinks with empty calories to purchasing a less sweetened product with vitamins and minerals that are needed to fuel the human body (Dillon).
3. Like any company, 7-UP has had many successes and failures throughout its history. In the initial stages of the company, there were 600 lemon-lime beverages competing for market share with 7-UP. 7-UP was able to survive and rise to the top of the market by successfully becoming one of the first lemon-lime soft drinks to be nationally distributed. 7-UP also floundered in the soft drink market due to poor marketing. Originally, the soft drink was a means of calming children with upset stomachs. Later, it became a mixer for alcoholic beverages. Because 7-UP was thought of as a bartending mixer and not an individual beverage, sales were mostly due to people intending to mix the 7-UP with a type of alcoholic beverage.
7-UP conducted extensive research and found that cola drinks were the best-selling soft drink in the industry. However, these cola drinks contained a considerable amount of caffeine. After careful consideration, they introduced the slogan, “7-UP, the uncola.” This slogan appealed to consumers because it carried a sense of individualism and it also appealed to those who were health-conscious and knew the effects of too much caffeine. This was one of 7-UPs great successes. Another failure by 7-UP was the introduction of 7-UP Gold. 7-UP Gold was designed as a spiced version of 7-UP, similar in taste to the ginger ale soft drink. Although it was widely marketed and advertised, the product was never a hit and was discontinued.
Another successful marketing campaign capitalized on the principles of Zen. A television commercial featured a Zen master asking disciples to correctly choose. The 7-UP symbolized light and consciousness while the cola featured in the commercial symbolized darkness. With that commercial, 7-UP made consumers think they were making a good life choice by purchasing and consuming 7-UP. Another failure in 7-UPs history is its poor bottling and distribution structure. When 7-UP was first introduced, it had little competition because Coca Cola and Pepsi did not manufacture lemon-lime soft drinks. This changed when Coca Cola introduced Sprite and Pepsi introduced Sierra Mist. Bottlers were then forced by these respective companies to discontinue bottling 7-UP and exclusively bottle their products. Unfortunately, this had led to an inability for 7-UP to be widely distributed to smaller stores. As a result, 7-UP can often only be found in large stores or chains (Wikipedia).
4. 7-UP’s marketing strategy has been successful in many ways. With the introduction of new taglines and slogans, 7-UP has been successful at positioning themselves in consumers’ minds and increasing market share in the soft drink industry. 7-UP’s marketing strategy has also been successful because marketing executives have capitalized on consumer trends throughout the history of the company.
In the 1970s, the company seized upon the fact that the popular cola drinks had high levels of caffeine and redesigned their advertising to reflect the healthier choice that 7-UP was. In addition, they appealed to the consumer’s sense of wanting to be an individual and introduced advertisements geared toward that concept. With the invention of new technology, 7-UP has also gained a presence on the World Wide Web with a well-designed web site that gives important information about the company and its products (Wikipedia).