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Fruitopia is a fruit-flavoured drink introduced by The Coca-Cola Company in 1994 and targeted at teens and young adults. According to New York Times business reports, it was invented as part of a push by Coca-Cola to capitalize on the success of Snapple and other flavored tea drinks. The brand gained substantial hype in the mid-1990s before enduring lagging sales by decade's end. While still available in Canada and in Australia as a juice brand, in 2003, Fruitopia was phased out in most of the United States where it had struggled for several years. However, select flavors have since been revamped under Coca-Cola's successful Minute Maid brand. Use of the Fruitopia brand name continues through various beverages in numerous countries.
Fruitopia was a pet project of Coke's former marketing chief, Sergio Zyman. The company spent untold sums on the brand, including an initial marketing budget of $30 million, allowing Fruitopia to quickly gain hype in the mid-1990s. TIME magazine named Fruitopia one of the Top 10 New Products of 1994, and the beverage would even be mentioned on the popular animated series, The Simpsons.
The brand's flagship flavor would be Strawberry Passion Awareness. This flavor was available at drink fountains as well at McDonald's as Coca-Cola pushed this drink to market in many places. Fruitopia vending machines have also appeared in schools and college campuses in addition to or as a replacement to soda.
In addition to the popular Strawberry Passion Awareness, other flavors included The Grape Beyond, Tangerine Wavelength, Citrus Excursion, Fruit Integration, Pink Lemonade Euphoria, Lemonade Love & Hope, Raspberry Psychic Lemonade, and Beachside Blast. These flavors were available in the United States while a much wider array was available in the UK. On March 23, 1995, a Fruitopia fruit tea line featuring Born Raspberry, Peaceable Peach, Lemon Berry Intuition, and Curious Mango was introduced in 16-ounce glass bottles. In a drive to remake the brand and remarket it as more relevant to Generation X, however, Coca-Cola dropped several Frutopia flavors in 1996 and added and renamed others.
Fruitopia had rather unusual commercials despite the simplicity of the product behind them. They featured animation using imagery of fruit arrayed in colorful, spinning kaleidoscope patterns. This was accompanied by idealistic aphorisms reminiscent of hippie poetry of the 1960s, such as might be found in advertisements which ran in underground press newspapers of the period. Background music on several of the ads was provided by The Muffs, Kate Bush, and the Cocteau Twins. Ad copy would run as follows:
There is a beautiful person
living inside you!
Please share a Raspberry Psychic Lemonade
with him or her.
In 1997, Greek writer Eugene Trivizas won the first stage of a legal battle against Coca-Cola, preventing the multinational company from registering in Greece the title of his TV serial and comic-strip books Fruitopia as a trademark for soft drinks. The court decided that Coca-Cola has unlawfully appropriated his intellectual property. Coca-Cola appealed against the decision and, in December 1999, the relevant court of appeal ruled once again in his favour prohibiting the use of his intellectual property as a trademark for soft drinks.
By the end of the 1990s, Fruitopia had struggled to maintain a profitable profile. In 2003, the Fruitopia line was all but discontinued in the United States, with some flavors being revamped under the Minute Maid moniker; Minute Maid, the world's largest juice brand, was largely responsible for the lagging sales of Fruitopia. A similar situation occurred by PepsiCo, who replaced their own Fruitopia clone, Fruit Works, with the enduring Tropicana moniker. Fruitopia Strawberry Passion Awareness is still available in the United States (branded as Minute Maid) in McDonald's fountain machines nationwide.
Due to its success in the region, Fruitopia juice is still available in Canada in a wide variety of flavours and continues to be sold in Australia as a juice brand. The ingredients in Canadian and former American Fruitopia drinks are not the same and taste(d) different; notably, the United States version has preservatives added. In 2007, Coca-Cola GmbH Germany released a new fruit juice line under the name Fruitopia by Minute Maid, essentially an alternately named Minute Maid.
In 2001, Fruitopia was relaunched in Australia as a juice brand but was unable to gain major success. Four years later, it held only 4% of the Australian juice market, prompting Coca-Cola Australia’s then general manager for Non Carbs, John McLoughlin, to invest several million dollars into revitalizing the brand in what was seen as a challenge to the reigning Berri brand. This was based on research suggesting that while consumers did not hold the product experience in high esteem, they chose Fruitopia as their favorite brand name. The plan involved the launch Fruitopia J, an ambient juice, and as Fruitopia Classic, a chilled juice as well as $100 million in dedicated Fruitopia coolers. Critics did not agree with the strategy, and within two years, Fruitopia maintained only a weak market share.