In case you haven’t seen it, the launch advertising for SmithKline
Beecham’s new energy drink, Lucozade Solstis, is a little bit
For a sector which has been lazily defined as ’youth’ and whose
advertising is beset with surreal humour and brash statements, the
Solstis ads are subtle.
The press ads, created by Ogilvy & Mather, challenge you to work out
what’s going on in order to get the joke. One depicts a young office
worker looking up from his computer and carries the line: ’The boss’s
son says he’s too busy to help. Is he?’ If you look carefully, you see a
reflection of the son’s computer screen in the window behind him - and
realise that he’s actually playing an on-screen game.
The idea is to position Solstis as a drink which makes you more alert -
whoever you are, whatever your age. Fiona Labram, the marketing manager
for Lucozade Energy, Solstis and Low Cal, explains. ’I suppose the core
target market might be twentysomethings, but we’re focusing on the
attitude. That could mean a 50-year-old who’s working hard and playing
hard or it could mean students doing the same thing.’
To prove the point, Labram is sampling Solstis not only on university
campuses but also motorway service stations and the City, via ads on
As with the radio ads, which only air between Friday and Monday
mornings, the aim of the activity is to target people when they are most
likely to want a Solstis. ’We’re bringing it into their lives in a
credible way,’ she explains.
It’s Friday afternoon when we speak and, as if to prove a point, she
immediately dispenses some Solstis round to Campaign’s offices. (So if
this article reads like shit, you know the ads are all hype.)
The 32-year-old Labram started out in drinks marketing with IDV - ’and
had my social life sponsored by my employer’. In 1992, she became brand
manager on Smirnoff and was in at the birth of the ’through the bottle’
campaign. Labram then launched Smirnoff Black before leaving to gain
fmcg experience with SmithKline in 1994. There, she relaunched Ribena,
updating the bottle design and TV advertising and restoring the brand to
its number one position in the process.
Her reward was an opportunity to indulge another personal passion:
As group product manager of Lucozade Sport and NRG, she became involved
with both the English Rugby Football Union and the FA Premier League,
legitimising the attendance of matches as ’work’.
Labram - who was promoted to marketing manager last month - is
celebrating by competing in her second triathlon. This involves swimming
1.5 km, cycling for 40 km and running for 10 km. Like her product and
its advertising, it seems safe to say that Labram is a little bit