Monday, August 11, 2008

Great Timing

If you've been around Berlin, you know what Bionade is: a soft-drink made with natural fruit flavors in ingenious combinations.

And if you know Germany, you've been anticipating the onslaught of attempts to copy that success. Well, one of them rolled out today in my local supermarket. Nice-looking bottles, odd flavor combinations (the one I noticed was green mango-kiwi, which made me wonder if it was made with amchur powder), and a big old free-standing display everyone had to maneuver their gigantic baby limos around.

Shame about the name: Spirit of Georgia.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Ward,

would you be willing to revise your convictions about Germany's lemming-like business practices in this particular case?
You may be surprised to learn that The Spirit of Georgia is neither German, nor a straight copy of Bionade drinks: it is a product of the Coca-Cola company from Atlanta, Georgia.

And while the manufacturer of Bionade has declined past take-over offers by Coke, the two companies still seem to be on good terms: according to the German Wikipedia article, Coke closed a retail agreement with Bionade in 2004, and has been selling their products ever since. So probably, these two competing sodas are not another example of a successful business idea being imitated.

You are, however, quite correct about the Spirit of Georgia being timed just right: according to Wikipedia, Bionade raised their prices by a full 30% on July 1.

That must have created quite an opportunity for Coke, as other bloggers (e.g. Germany's most read grocery store blog report that Coke's newest softdrink is selling like hot cakes.

Best Wishes from a US-based German!

Anonymous said...

I catch your drift about the beverage's handle, Ed, and let me just say that I'm relieved that the previous commenter didn't write that "thirsty consumers in places like Tbilisi think Coke's newest soft drink is the bomb."

BTW, a quick google shows that there's also a B-2 Stealth bomber called the Spirit of Georgia.

I wonder if Coca-Cola will have to rethink their branding on this one?

Ed Ward said...

Well, fishhusband, in defense of Mr. Nonymous' post, I'd just note that over the weekend the U.S. TV news, from which a frightening percentage of Americans get all their information, was exclusively focussed on the deployment of John Edwards' penis and the Olympics, so even though this guy's German, he may not have noticed what was going on.

And, on the off-chance that he is, as I suspect, employed by Coca-Cola, I have just two words: Water Salad. The greatest soft-drink ever, made by Coca Cola Japan for a while in the early part of this decade, and a formula which needs to be re-thought a little (it was bright pink; gotta lose that) and rolled out worldwide. Have your people contact my people. This stuff's great.