Drink it in

New Zealand Marketing - - TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards -

Fru­cor New Zealand is an un­de­ni­ably brand and mar­ket­ing-led com­pany that has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for in­no­va­tion in prod­uct, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and ac­ti­va­tion. And that at­ti­tude flows through the com­pany di­rectly from the of­fice of chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Cal­laghan.

Fru­cor New Zealand launched its found­ing brand, Fresh Up, around 50 years ago when it was still part of the New Zealand Ap­ple and Pear Board. And it’s come a long way since then, with the com­pany de­vel­op­ing into a sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional bev­er­age busi­ness that has over 20 brands in its sta­ble across the en­ergy, sports, milk, soft drink, fruit juice, waters and iced tea cat­e­gories.

The com­pany, which was bought by Ja­panese food and bev­er­age com­pany Sun­tory in 2008, em­ploys around 900 staff and is cat­e­gory leader in en­ergy drinks (V), flavoured wa­ter (H2GO, Mi­zone) and juice (Just Juice, Fresh Up, Sim­ply Squeezed). It clocked in with an­nual rev­enue of over $ 400 mil­lion in the 2012 fi­nan­cial year and it ex­ports ap­prox­i­mately NZ$250 mil­lion of bev­er­ages a year, which, as a point of com­par­i­son, is around one fifth of New Zealand’s to­tal an­nual wine ex­ports.

Mark Cal­laghan, who joined the com­pany as chief ex­ec­u­tive fol­low­ing Mark Cowsill’s re­tire­ment af­ter 18 years as manag­ing direc­tor, was pre­vi­ously the Mel­bourne- based manag­ing direc­tor Aus­tralia & New Zealand for Cad­bury. He has also held a num­ber of se­nior sales and mar­ket­ing roles, in­clud­ing brand direc­tor – con­fec­tionery, for Cad­bury Sch­weppes in the UK. He also served as a non-ex­e­cuitve in­de­pen­dent direc­tor of Ware­house Group Ltd. and he won New Zealand’s Supreme Mar­ket­ing award in 1994.

The Manukau-based com­pany is sec­ond only

to Coca Cola in the ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive non­al­co­holic bev­er­ages mar­ket; it is one of few large con­sumer goods busi­nesses in New Zealand that has ab­so­lute con­trol over brand strat­egy and in­vest­ment de­ci­sions; it is a mag­net for young mar­keters and tal­ent look­ing to learn and ad­vance their ca­reers; and it is ac­knowl­edged in its sec­tor, by con­sumers and by trade cus­tomers alike as one of the most in­no­va­tive FMCG busi­nesses in this mar­ket in terms of prod­uct, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and ac­ti­va­tion.

Re­cent ex­am­ples in­clude be­ing the first main­stream juice pro­ducer to de­liver a 50 per­cent re­duced sugar prod­uct (Just Juice 50%) that uses nat­u­ral sweet­ener ste­via; it re­placed the en­tire range of H2GO flavoured waters with a zero sugar prod­uct this year, again sweet­ened with ste­via; it re­cently com­pletely re­branded its H2GO brand with a lim­ited edi­tion de­signer art­work; and V con­tin­ues to de­light con­sumers and re­tail­ers with its con­ver­sa­tion-start­ing com­mer­cial de­liv­ery. As an ex­am­ple of how pow­er­ful the V brand is, New Zealand is one of the few en­ergy mar­kets in the world where Red Bull isn’t num­ber one and V is also big­ger than Coke in the Oils chan­nel, which is also unique to this mar­ket.

Fru­cor New Zealand has never failed to de­liver topline sales growth in its his­tory. And cre­atively, whether it’s build­ing a life-sized skate park pin­ball ma­chine for Moun­tain Dew, pitch­ing for and be­ing granted a day with Us­ain Bolt just a mat­ter of weeks af­ter his Lon­don Olympics tri­umph to launch the Ga­torade brand in New Zealand, or putting a cone on top of the Sky Tower for its star per­former V, which con­sis­tently de­liv­ers creative track­ing scores that are best in class in terms of the Col­mar Brun­ton data­base, a will­ing­ness to push the bound­aries and think big are in­grained in the Fru­cor mar­ket­ing ethos. In re­cent years this at­ti­tude has been ac­knowl­edged count­less times, with regular recog­ni­tion at in­dus­try awards like AXIS, Effies, the TVNZ- NZ Mar­ket­ing Awards and Cannes Li­ons along­side its creative agency Colenso BBDO.

In 2013 Fru­cor has al­ready been awarded the Supreme Nexus Award for the ‘ V Mo­tion Project’, with other big awards in­clud­ing The Most Ef­fec­tive Client of the Year at the 2009 Effies and a Gold Effie for Sus­tained Suc­cess in 2011. On top of this there are the dozens of other cat­e­gory awards across mul­ti­ple brands over the last four to five years that stand as tes­ta­ment to the suc­cess of the Fru­cor mar­ket­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion. The V brand in par­tic­u­lar has con­tin­ued to de­liver and, in a cat­e­gory where it holds a greater than 50 per­cent share on av­er­age across all chan­nels, it’s still chart­ing im­pres­sive growth.

While there have been many suc­cesses, Fru­cor ad­mits the fickle na­ture of the pri­mary 18-24 year old, male skewed tar­get means that some of its ini­tia­tives haven’t made the grade com­mer­cially. But as an or­gan­i­sa­tion that prides it­self on evolv­ing and de­vel­op­ing its unique cor­po­rate cul­ture, it brushes it­self off, takes its medicine and moves on. The in­vest­ment it puts into con­sumer in­sights and un­der­stand­ing means there is a high level of con­fi­dence that it will get it right of­ten enough and big enough to de­liver on ob­jec­tives and to its strat­egy.

Fru­cor is also tak­ing its brands fur­ther afield and ex­pand­ing into mar­kets in Ar­gentina, Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, Spain, Nether­lands, Swe­den, Bel­gium and Bri­tain.

“Sun­tory has a ‘ go for it’ at­ti­tude like us,” Cal­laghan told Busi­ness Auck­land. “They want us to grow not in profit only. They want us to build ca­pac­ity, be more ef­fi­cient, and to be great in 20 years time.” And there’s no doubt great mar­ket­ing-led strat­egy, ex­e­cu­tion and ex­cel­lence will be a big part of that.

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