CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; Chief sets Robinsons enigma

Margaret Hood meets the man who is repositioning a 300-year-old soft drink

Margaret Hood meets the man who is repositioning a 300-year-old soft


Robinsons new pounds 11 million ad campaign is designed to be an

enigmatic, alternative stance to the Wimbledon commercials that have run

for so many years.

The campaign may either intrigue or irritate the target audience (people

who, at the moment, buy fruit squash for their kids rather than for

themselves). It features a couple who, through different treatments of

the same conversation, can’t seem to decide whether she is a prostitute,

has just bought a dog or has had a secret child by the hero of the ad

(Campaign, 3 May).

This is exactly what Andrew Buckley, the Britvic Soft Drinks brands

group manager, had in mind when he landed the task of repositioning the

300-year-old brand as an everyday adult, as well as child-oriented,


Along with his ad agency, Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, Buckley is faced

with the proposition of increasing sales of a product that already has

almost 100 per cent distribution, with 36 per cent share of the squash


After a Bristol University degree in French and German, Buckley joined

British Drug House in 1985 in export sales and marketing. Two years

later he went into international consultancy, specialising in the Middle

East soft drinks, confectionery and snacks business, and then joined

Stanley Tools Europe.

In 1993 he joined Britvic as international marketing manager, launching

Tango in continental Europe on a paltry budget of pounds 3.5 million.

‘The global soft drinks market is a duopoly of Pepsi and Coca-Cola,’ he

says. ‘We may be the UK franchise partners for Pepsi, but outside the UK

we are on our own, which is quite tough.’

Last year he moved into UK marketing, after Britvic bought Robinsons

from Reckitt and Colman. Buckley is married to his university

sweetheart, a market research company director, and still supports

second division Bournemouth, a town where his father was an accountant.

‘I suppose I come over as being very boring, but that is a fact of

life,’ he surmises.