CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Oasis eases consumer stress - Steve Cooper shows off the brand’s calming qualities, Francesca Newland writes

Last Friday, a very anxious Steve Cooper, the marketing controller of non-carbonated drinks at Cadbury-Schweppes, was lining up bottles of Oasis to calm him down should his beloved Newcastle United lose the FA Cup final at the weekend.

Last Friday, a very anxious Steve Cooper, the marketing controller

of non-carbonated drinks at Cadbury-Schweppes, was lining up bottles of

Oasis to calm him down should his beloved Newcastle United lose the FA

Cup final at the weekend.



’It’ll take more than one,’ he said in his strong Geordie accent. He was

referring to the new positioning of Oasis as an effective calming

influence for stressful circumstances.



Cadbury-Schweppes has developed a new strategy for Oasis - a ’phase two’

campaign. The drink was launched in 1995 and has used the ’open, pour,

be yourself once more’ advertising through Saatchi & Saatchi since

then.



Cooper says: ’It was brilliant at raising awareness. Everyone remembered

the slogan and recognised the actors in it. But it didn’t deliver a

strong message.’



The company undertook consumer research to understand why people drink

Oasis, and used the information to develop the new message.



’It came from the consumers, like all the best strategies,’ Cooper

says.



It’s a two-pronged positioning. In contrast to carbonated drinks,

Cadbury-Schweppes discovered that people drink Oasis when they are

really thirsty.



So refreshment is a key part of the strategy.



The company is also developing an emotional positioning: that the drink

offers escape. Cooper says: ’Life is becoming more stressful. We can’t

solve the stress, but we can help you get away from it.’



The new approach is the basis for a campaign through TBWA GGT Simons

Palmer (Saatchi & Saatchi resigned the business last August because of a

conflict with Procter & Gamble’s Sunny Delight). The ads introduce the

Karma Brothers: two giant twins and their savvy, smaller sibling.



Cooper enthuses about the flexibility of the campaign idea. ’There are

so many stressful situations to use. Like your mobile phone going off,

your PC breaking down or your boss putting you under pressure,’ he

explains.



The 29-year-old Cooper is un-ashamedly ambitious. He switched from sales

to marketing because ’it would take ten years to get far in sales. I’d

have had to have waited for a manager to die’. That was at Scottish &

Newcastle, where he worked for five years.



He then spent a year at United Biscuits working on Phileas Fogg, before

making the move to Cadbury-Schweppes last July.



Cooper is confident that Oasis still has a lot of growth potential.

’Fruit-flavoured still drinks is a major growth area and so is bottled

water. Oasis combines both of them,’ he says.



Perhaps the predicted growth will cheer him up after Newcastle’s FA Cup

defeat at the weekend, because it’s unlikely that Oasis, no matter what

its positioning, could do the job.