Business GCSE / National 5: The rise and fall of Sunny Delight

Evan Davies talks with leading marketing experts to find out how multinational Proctor and Gamble (P&G) adapted a successful US soft drink product, Sunny Delight, for the UK market.

The advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi coordinate the marketing of this new brand. The key factor in the success of the launch is distribution: retailers agreed to sell Sunny Delight in refrigerated cabinets alongside other cold drinks such as Coca-Cola and Tango.

Sunny Delight is marketed as a fresh, wholesome, sugar-free, healthy drink particularly appropriate for children. Labeling states 'added vitamins'. An analyst explains how a £10 million advertising campaign promotes the product: hot, thirsty kids are seen reaching for a bright orange bottle of Sunny Delight stored in the family fridge.

The tagline is: 'Sunny Delight The great stuff kids go for!' The Sunny Delight promotion campaign is one of the most successful UK product launches of all time. For instance, 80% of households with children make a trial purchase.

Sunny Delight becomes the third most popular soft drink in the UK within four months of launch. P&G now face capacity issues as demand exceeds supply. Some time later the UK food regulator publicises the fact that Sunny Delight contains just 5% fruit juice and the same amount of sugar as a can of cola.

Sales fall further when a 4-year-old girl drinking over one litre of Sunny Delight a day is rushed to hospital as her skin has turned orange. At the same time a new advert to boost sales at Christmas shows delighted snowman turning orange having drunk Sunny Delight. Sales halved. Brand image is damaged beyond repair.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 4

Introduce the idea that all elements of the marketing mix must be in balance for products to remain profitable, and the ethics of advertising. Students can explore recent examples of items with short product life cycles and analyse why sales rise and fall so quickly. They may also identify other products on supermarket shelves which possibly overstate their benefits or minimise their health risks.

Key Stage 5

Introduce the idea that all elements of the marketing mix must be in balance for products to remain profitable. Potential topics for discussion include ethics and advertising and potential for extension strategies to improve the sales of failing products. Students can explore recent examples of items with short product life cycles and analyse why sales rise and fall so quickly.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE (KS4) / National 5 business.

More Business with Steph McGovern

Logistics, stock control and car manufacturing
video
Lean car production
video
Market research and new car design
video
The challenge of running a theme park
video
Kaizen - new ideas to improve productivity
video
Robots and automation in car manufacture
video
How to market a new cereal
video
The challenge of launching a new café
video