Amarula takes off with global soccer fans

{ Posted on Aug 13 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

Amarula Cream, the world’s second biggest drink of its kind by volume, has defied market conditions to show good growth.

Global brand spokesman Werner Swanepoel said the rise in sales in several important markets ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was affirmation of the strategy to capitalise on the steadily building awareness of the soccer tournament.

Last year, brand owner Distell signed an agreement with FIFA, entitling it to market Amarula in limited-edition special packaging to commemorate South Africa’s hosting of the games.

“While Amarula is well-established locally, as well as in Angola, Germany, Canada and Brazil, we have seen other markets with a strong interest in football record double-digit sales volume increases year-on-year for the 12 months to February, notably Nigeria, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina and Japan. Duty-free is another channel to benefit.”

He said the company was essentially employing its existing distribution networks to market Amarula but was also securing additional listings in these countries. “We hope the wider distribution achieved will create ongoing opportunities on which agents can build over the longer term.”

Swanepoel said both in South Africa and in selected markets elsewhere, the brand had stepped up merchandising and other marketing activity to highlight its association with the games, using soccer shirts, soccer balls and vuvuzelas, while still very much focusing on the intrinsic competitive advantages that had earned Amarula support in over 100 countries.

“The relationship with soccer has definitely afforded us a new platform from which to currently strengthen brand visibility. However, we also continue to communicate the features that set Amarula apart from its competitors. These include the readily discernible taste of the marula, which is indigenous to southern Africa and also loved by elephants, the rich folklore associated with the fruit, its hand-harvesting to produce our unique cream drink, double-distillation and ageing in French oak for two years, and the brand’s nearly 30-year history. These are all qualities helping to maintain Amarula’s ascendancy.

“Being awarded the title of Worldwide Best Liqueur on the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London has obviously also enhanced brand stature.”

He confirmed that Amarula’s investment in research to conserve, protect and manage elephants in their natural environment, as well as in sustainable economic development programmes established in and around the marula-growing region of Phalaborwa and further afield, had also helped to further the brand’s reputation, particularly amongst developed nations, where consumers wanted to see evidence of social responsibility.

“The recently launched Amarula Trust is now co-ordinating brand-funded initiatives across several fronts. The marula harvesting season lasts no longer than six weeks and can sometimes be even shorter. With some 60 000 people dependent on income derived from marula harvesting, we have sought additional ways to create income, in consultation with community leaders. Residents in the area are being trained in business and building skills.

“Field guide scholarship programmes have also been created to serve aspirant rangers within South Africa and in Botswana, while the work of the Amarula Elephant Research Project, based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is being applied in several public and private game parks within South Africa. Funds are also made available to support some of the infrastructural needs of Kenya Wildlife Services.”

According to Swanepoel, Distell’s policy of focusing on a range of markets to reduce vulnerability to the vagaries of any specific export destination, was also serving the brand well. “We are represented on every continent in developing and developed countries. Some have proved better able to weather the economic storm than others and our extensive distribution network has been able to respond with flexibility to market needs.”

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