CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Energised for a liquid launch - SmithKline’s Fiona Labram tells John Owen how Solstis is targeting attitude not age

In case you haven’t seen it, the launch advertising for SmithKline Beecham’s new energy drink, Lucozade Solstis, is a little bit different.

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

Reuters Cityscreen.

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