created over 2 years ago | Tagged:
Tang became the most famous beverage in the galaxy more than 40 years ago when it rode along with astronauts in space. Now the powdered drink mix has reached a more earthly milestone. Kraft Foods announced today that Tang has become its 12th billion-dollar brand, with global sales nearly doubling since 2006, thanks mostly to aggressive marketing in international markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the Philippines. Tang joins an elite roster of billion-dollar brands at Kraft, including powerhouses such as Oreo, Trident, Milka, Oscar Mayer, Maxwell House and Cadbury chocolates. Of course, in the beverage world, the billion-dollar club is not as elite. Coca-Cola alone boasts 15 of them, ranging from Coke and Sprite to Vitaminwater; and PepsiCo owns 10, including Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade and Sierra Mist.
Tang initiatives include giving regional managers more freedom, while customizing flavors to local markets. Although orange is the top-selling variety, Kraft says it found success pushing flavors such as mango in the Philippines, soursop in Brazil, horchata in Mexico and pineapple in the Middle East. Such local flavors make up roughly 25% of Tang sales in developing markets. In some countries Kraft learned that consumers wanted smaller packages, so the company introduced slimmer, more affordable sizes, such as two-liter packs sold in Mexico for below 50 cents. And the company spread the word with aggressive sampling programs. The brand's global ad agency of record is WPP's Ogilvy & Mather.
Stateside, Tang has gotten less attention -- and less glory -- since its high-flying days back in the 1960s, when it began rocketing into space. In 1965, Tang, then owned by General Foods, aired a TV ad within three days of the Gemini 4 splashdown. And in 1968 Tang sponsored ABC's network coverage of America's first manned flight around the moon, Apollo 8.
But the last time Kraft dedicated any measured media spending to Tang in the U.S. was in 2008, when it spent a paltry $129,700. Rather, Kraft's domestic drink focus has been on Crystal Light, which had $46 million in measured media last year, and Kool-Aid, which got 26.4 million. Meantime, Kraft plans to spend aggressively on its newest drink brand, Mio, a first-of-a kind liquid water enhancer launched in the U.S. earlier this year.