For the last 13 years, Tui has been a problem child for DB Breweries.
And while that idea might bring to mind complaint-generating ‘Yeah Right’ billboards, the problem was in its sales.
Though Tui holds the highest brand equity for any New Zealand beer brand, market-leading saliency and the highest rate of spontaneous awareness, this brand health success wasn’t transitioning into brand sales, as its volume has declined ahead of the mainstream beer category. To combat that, it had launched seven
previous beer innovations with significant marketing investments that had failed to capture market traction, with all being deleted not long after launch.
Meanwhile, what was capturing market traction was the RTD category, with Lab360 Loyalty Data showing existing Tui beer drinkers were spending three-times more on RTDs than beer.
DB needed to produce a concept that would cut through the ultra-competitive RTD market that is dominated by two large players who held 65 percent share of the bourbon category.
But what right did a brewery have to tackle a category dominated by famous distilleries? Insight by Big Picture found participants were intrigued by how a brewing process, which is perceived as more natural, would have an impact on the taste. They were hoping to see a less sweet, stronger bourbon flavoured liquid than was currently in the market.
With that in mind, the concept was refined and re-tuned into Tui Brewed Bourbon and Cola – brewed for less sweetness, more taste.
Extensive quantitative research was then run by Kantar TNS on both the concept and liquid vs key competitors’ brands.
This showed the Tui concept tested in the top 25 percent of all global concepts TNS has tested around the world in the last 15 years.
The concept and liquid tests exceeded global norms on all diagnostics, particularly excitement (151), appeal (225) and VFM (128). On top of this, 93 percent of respondents preferred a Tui Bourbon concept (usually around 70 percent) and the concept was equally attractive to all bourbon and cola RTD drinkers (both Tui beer and non-beer drinkers).
To help it produce a great tasting bourbon and cola, DB brought in several external companies to upskill and educate its brewing team in the process of flavour development and promised the supply chain team the gift of time to get the recipe right.
This upskilling was supported by three in-depth rounds of quantitative product testing vs key competitors to ensure DB had confidence in the product. Only after it had exceeded the category benchmark and the market leader in taste preference did it fully green light the project.
Further upskilling was done for the field sales team of 85. DB conducted two separate workshops for the field sales leadership team and two with the full field team, to educate them about the new category, market dynamic, key competitors, pricing structures, liquid differences and the sell story.
To get them up to speed, it created an RTD playbook. But none of this mattered without the product and in February 2018, Tui Brewed Bourbon and Cola hit the market.
Its launch marked the first cross-category innovation from beer into RTD for the alcohol market in New Zealand and throughout the global Heineken network.
An achievement yes, but one that left DB without many learnings to apply.
On top of this, came a challenge from the RTD category itself as it’s dominated by two players making up 85 percent of the category who are aggressive and protective of the mailer and chiller space.
Any activation plans they had to disrupt DB’s launch were disrupted as DB brought forward its launch dates at selected stores.
Meanwhile, retailers were incentivised to be the first to communicate the launch which generated a huge social media buzz.
Even if you haven’t tried the new Tui Brewed Bourbon and Cola, the results speak for themselves.
The new RTD was the number one innovation in the total alcohol market for 2018, dominating much larger spending NPDs in the process.
DB is also celebrating over-delivering in total budgeted and forecasted volume, revenue and market share expectations.
Most importantly, for Tui, the Tui Brewed Bourbon and Cola has turned its fortunes around. It’s no longer the problem child and it has earned further investment with DB developing a full innovation funnel that has already seen the launch of Tui Brewed Vodka at the start of 2019.
That vodka delivered its full-year budgeted volume within the first four months and helped to continue to grow Tui’s share of the RTD category.
These results have given Tui a bright future and have helped ensure the famous brand will be around for years to come.