Bobby Brittain has been working for Coca-Cola for more than a decade. Here he explains how the company has invested £10m into promoting an alternative drink option to help people reduce their sugar intake.

I'm incredibly excited for Coca-Cola Great Britain to be the first market to launch Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. It’s a real privilege. I’ve been with Coca-Cola for more than 12 years – I was here for the first launch of Coca-Cola Zero back in 2006 – but this is still the biggest investment in a campaign that I’ve ever seen, bar none.

Shaping choice
Here at Coca-Cola GB we know more and more people are trying to reduce their sugar intake and it’s one of our major goals as a company to help them do that. We’re obviously keen to offer our fans as much choice as possible with our drinks. And while that’s still incredibly important to us, we also want to shape choice – which means actively encouraging more people, including Coca-Cola Classic drinkers, to choose a no-sugar option.

One thing I know is there’s no point in offering people a sugar-free replacement that doesn’t match up in taste and looks to the original drink they love. I liken it to drinking tea: you either drink it with or without sugar, but it’s still the same drink.

Knowing our audience
We have to know our consumers better than anyone else. So our research, insight generation and ongoing communication, all have to be more extensive than our competitors. And from that consumer research we know that Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is a product people will want to buy. And we know from our taste trials with consumers that it tastes just like Coca-Cola Classic, but without the sugar.

£10 million marketing campaign
Our first goal is raising awareness. And this is where this huge investment is pivotal. The commitment and scale of this campaign is off the charts – everything is on a much bigger scale. The samples we’re giving out are bigger, the amount of TV advertising is bigger, the amount of ‘out-of-home’ advertising is bigger. And it’s great that the ambition that we have for this campaign is being matched by our investment.

4.5 million samples
Our second, and biggest, goal is to get people to try the drink. To achieve that we’re giving out 4.5 million samples of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar over the coming months. That’s our biggest ever sampling campaign. It’s digital as well as face-to-face. So you might be approached in the street or at a festival by one of the team asking you if you’d like to try it. Or you might get a digital coupon on your phone or via Facebook. This technology has really moved on in recent years. You can just take your phone with the coupon on it and scan it directly at the checkout without having to print off a paper voucher.

Digital innovations
One of the biggest innovations in this campaign is simply the huge extent of our digital sampling campaign. This is great, because not only is it a lot more cost effective to give someone a free-sample voucher on their Facebook feed or to send them a text, it means we can target who we offer samples to. For example, with Facebook, we can filter down to our ideal demographic, so we can target really accurately and effectively.

Zero Sugar means zero sugar
Our third goal is to make people aware of the intrinsic characteristics of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. In other words, that it doesn’t have any sugar in it! It’s surprising, but it just wasn’t clear before now that Zero meant zero sugar. In fact, our research showed that only 50% of people knew this – and a lot of these were people who were already fans of Coke Zero. By really spelling this out in the new name, we help raise awareness that the drink has no sugar.

Zeroing in on the objective
For me, one of the biggest learnings of this campaign has been to really concentrate on the objective. In such a big campaign it’s easy to get distracted by so many moving parts. But actually the overarching objective is to get 4.5m people to try Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. That’s it. Everything we do needs to be focused on making sure we achieve that objective.

Find out how else we’re helping you to enjoy less sugar.

About the author
Bobby Brittain is the Marketing Director for Coca-Cola Great Britain. He joined Coke in 2004 as a brand director before becoming Vice President of sparkling drinks for Coca-Cola Canada, and general manager of Coca-Cola Italy.