Catch the drip: Sprite’s new look in a challenging market



By Tunji Faleye

In a country where pressure and its accompanying heat are prevalent, nothing could be more timely than the introduction of the new Sprite to help Nigerians cool down and cope with the stress.

Coca-Cola recently unveiled the new Sprite, its second largest brand, with the aim of encouraging Gen Z to embrace the “drip,” stay cool, and remain calm in the face of pressure and tense situations.

The term “heat” is used metaphorically to describe stressful and tension-filled moments that can disrupt an individual’s composure.

It is worth noting that the Sprite “Heat Happens” campaign was launched in 2022 across North America, Greater China, India, Europe, the South Pacific, Korea, the Middle East, and Latin America. The recent introduction of the “Cool New Drip” campaign in the Nigerian market aims to encourage people to stay cool during tense or heated moments. Recognizing that Gen Z lives in a more stressful world than ever before, the refreshing ice-cold Sprite is positioned to help them stay calm and enjoy their moments.

As the iconic lemon-lime flavoured drink makes its debut in Nigeria with a fresh, bold new look, it promises the unparalleled thirst-quenching experience that only Sprite® can deliver, complete with its irresistibly delicious taste.

Credit: Coca-Cola

Introducing the sensational “Cool New Drip,” Senior Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria, Yusuf Murtala, stated, “We want to show—not just tell—people why Sprite® has that ‘irresistible taste’. We are very excited to unveil this exhilarating evolution for Sprite. The Cool New packaging ensures a consistent global identity for the brand while preserving the authentic taste that Nigerian consumers crave.”

The new packaging, described as “Cool New Drip,” aims to deliver an enhanced multi-sensorial experience, focusing on both visual appeal and the drink’s intensely fizzy, refreshing taste. Coca-Cola aims to keep the Sprite brand relevant and appealing to younger consumers by combining modern aesthetics with its traditional flavour profile. However, to achieve this, their marketing strategies must also be top-notch. Effective social media activations, out-of-home advertisements, influencer engagements, and other creative executions should be adopted if they haven’t already been. These efforts will drive conversations about the new Sprite, leading to increased sales and greater market share.

Considering the current market realities where consumer purchasing power has significantly decreased due to limited funds, the brand managers must prepare for a challenging environment. They need to recognize that consumers are becoming increasingly creative in finding alternatives for their purchases and consumption. Many have also cut back on their daily intake of soft drinks. Therefore, the market dynamics have shifted.

In addition to understanding consumer behaviour, the brand managers must also focus on how they will compete with their main rival, 7up. This is particularly important given that both brands are produced by marketing experts in the carbonated soft drink sector—Coca-Cola produces Sprite, while 7up is being produced by PepsiCo. With over 200 million people in the country, there is a substantial market at stake.

The trendy new look of the Sprite bottle and the comprehensive marketing campaign are likely to appeal to Gen Z, who can easily relate to the new branding. However, any misstep in the marketing strategy or misunderstanding of Gen Z’s preferences could negatively impact the brand’s market performance. While the introduction of a new visual identity with a revamped logo and packaging design will help create a consistent look and positively influence consumer perception and purchasing decisions, Nigerian consumers now seek products that offer real value for their money. Therefore, it’s crucial that the new Sprite delivers on its promise beyond just its appearance.

To ensure that Sprite® performs well in the market, the handlers must vigorously highlight its heritage as a global brand with a local touch, emphasizing quality and trustworthiness in their marketing materials. Innovative marketing campaigns that resonate with Nigerian youth culture are essential; having a trendy look and a fantastic logo alone is not enough.

Community engagement through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives is also crucial. These initiatives could include promoting recycling and sustainability efforts, as well as supporting educational programmes in schools to foster a positive brand image.

Additionally, the brand custodians must continuously gather and analyze consumer feedback to adapt their marketing strategies and product offerings accordingly. This agile approach will help ensure that Sprite® remains relevant and meets the evolving needs of Nigerian consumers.

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