Karl Treacher ponders why Coca -Cola are bothering to relaunch their energy drink, Mother. Sarah Kelly, public relations manager Coca-Cola South Pacific, is on hand to try and ease Karls mind. Will the relaunch of Mother (see the TVC below) be a success or should Coca-Cola just quit the energy drink market?

Have a read of both bloggers views and decide for yourself.


He says … Karl Treacher, CEO of brand intelligence group Brand Behaviour

What is the difference between Red Bull and Mother. (If you are thinking about your mother with a bull right now, you should be ashamed. I know I am.)

The answer to my question is a little complex. As we probably all know by now Coca-Cola have relaunched their flagship energy drink Mother.

After hitting the deck at speed with their four other attempts (Lift Plus, Burn, Sprite recharge and Vault), Coke have taken stock of their mistakes and have taken another swing at it. This time, bravely admitting they screwed it up – watch the Punishing those Responsible TVC below -  and reformulating and repackaging Mother.

But hold on. Why did the TVC show a SWAT team taking out the guys who made the formula? It should have been the CEO handing out termination letters to the Coke marketing team. This time it appears that they may have done a better job with the brands visual language, however the brand personality is still very ambiguous.

Who is Mother, and who of us wants an affinity with an energy drink that is clearly running last, didnt get off the start line in its last attempt and  tastes EXACTLY like Red Bull. Exactly. What is the drinks market? 14 year old wanna be tough kids like the last effort?

My question is, why do Coke think it will work this time? It tastes like Red Bull, looks like something a guy in a blue flannel shirt would take to the Chisel revival concert, and conjures up memories of something that already failed. Is this the dumbest thing Coke has ever done, and should the brand name be changed to Toolie? It seems to me that this brand is what 30 year-old men are to the Schoolies week.


She says … Sarah Kelly, public relations manager for Coca-Cola South Pacific

The truth is we got the original taste formulation of Mother wrong. We’ve admitted that. Old news. But what now?

Having got the taste wrong last time, but with 85 percent consumer awareness, we saw an opportunity for Mother. So, we looked into what consumers were after from their energy drinks and have worked hard to get it right for this relaunch.

The two critical things we focused on were:

  1. The taste – the original formulation was a departure from the energy drink norm and prompted extreme reactions from people (love or hate).
  2. The point of difference – with a market dominated by two players, it’s important to have something that will really make the brand stand out.

This focused approached allowed us to find a new taste formulation for Mother that tested very well with consumers and to identify a global trend in energy drinks – the larger can, giving us differentiation in the market (we are first to market with this in Australia).

It’s this combination of the right taste, the stand out larger can and already high brand awareness, which means we are confident in the future of Mother. The new look and feel of the brand, is also allowing us to appeal to a broader audience. As with any brand, the identity of the brand is designed to appeal to a certain audience – rather than focusing on a smaller niche audience, we are appealing to the broader 18-25 year old male audience.

We are just a month into the launch now, so it’s too early for sales data. However, we’re getting good indications from the trade that consumers are responding positively to Mother.

Now, we all just have to wait and see…

And what does it really taste like? Well, there’s only one way to find out.


So what do you think? Will the relaunch of Mother be a success, or does Karl know something Sarah doesnt?

Will the we got it wrong advertising tactic pursued by Coca-Cola prove successful? (Check out the tank crushing the old Mother in the video below to see how far theyve taken this line!)

Or has Mother missed the boat for a second time?