Mother Energy Drink – Fighting To Stay In The Game?

One of the biggest players in the Australian and New Zealand energy drink market, is Mother Energy. In fact it comes in as the 3rd most consumed energy drink in Australia. If you’ve ever consumed energy drinks down under then it’s likely you may have smashed a can of Mother Energy Drink looking for a pick me up.

The distinct black and red can design (until recently), along with the name says it all. Mother Energy packs an energy kick and is positioned to compete against Red Bull and V Energy. Despite partnering up with Coca Cola in the past and having one of the biggest soft drink manufacturers backing it, how is it trailing so far behind in 3rd place? 

Although Mother comes in as the 3rd most popular energy drink for Australians, based on Aztec statistics, the energy drink only accounts for 16% of value in the $1.2 billion dollar energy drink market.

Background

Mother Energy Drink came to fruition in 2006 when Coca Cola Amatil failed to buy Red Bull. Coca Cola then decided to partner up with Mother’s parent company Monster Beverage Corporation.  The new partnership generated high expectations of successfully breaking into the highly competitive and dominated energy drink market within Australia and New Zealand. 

In these early stages, Mother had both the backing of two huge industry giants; Monster Beverage Corporation and Coca Cola. Monster Energy Drink distributes multiple energy drinks around the world. Most notably Monster Energy Drink (also available in Australia and New Zealand), Burn Energy Drink, Nos Energy Drink, Full Throttle, Relentless (Europe’s answer to Mother) and Mutant Super Soda. Coca Cola speaks for itself. It's one of the world's biggest soft drinks manufacturer and distributor. Sounds like a match made in heaven right? Well, it wasn't an easy start... 

Tricky Beginnings 

18 months on the market from it’s launch, a re-launch  was announced in late 2006. Why? The original Mother was developed as a 100% natural energy drink and had a substantial campaign to support it, but with no success. Although the energy drink had successfully gained brand awareness, turns out it was the wrong drink for the wrong target market. Consumers hated the taste. So much so in fact that Mother lost almost half of it's initial market share and repeat purchases were below 50%. 

2008 saw the energy drink completely revamped due to extensive consumer research. Changes to the original version of Mother included a new colour/design for the can (from silver to black and red), larger packaging (500ml) and change of drink colour (from yellow to green) as well as a new formula for the drink itself. It was an overhaul; a new energy drink with a stigma hanging over it's head already! The revamp included a $3 million marketing plan Australia wide. The focus was on shedding the old image, branding the latest Mother as 'New - tastes nothing like the old one!'.

Learning From The Past 

Since then Mother has gone through multiple changes, which is usual for any product in the retail market. These have included providing various new flavors over the years, changes in packaging (glass bottle versions), changes in packaging sizes, low sugar/low carb versions and so on. Essentially the energy drink giant has maintained its branding up until fairly recently, for it’s latest revamp.

Last year Mother went through perhaps a less dramatic revamp with a focus on shifting and expanding their target market. The energy drinks' original re-launch in 2008, saw Mother targeted to a male youth market. Holding a strong focus on mate-ship and the idea of ‘blokey nature’ was a prime marketing focus for Mother. Last year, Mother’s branding shifted again. The energy drink is now actively trying to expand that youth market beyond just males.

The brand seems to have simplified and streamlined its range. Mother now offers 4 additional flavors to its original variety. The can design has once again been changed, the logo simplified and with a focus on a single bright colour (simply coloured to represent the flavour eg Kicked Apple is green). Along with the packaging redesign, Mother has been aligning itself with music festivals to achieve a market expansion, which although admirable, seems to be falling short to it’s dramatic 2008 campaign.

Marketing Campaign - The 2008 Relaunch

Although Mother Energy Drink has just recently revamped its branding in a bid to refresh and re-establish itself within the energy drink market, Mother’s original resurrection is an impressive marketing success story.

Failing to achieve market differentiation with the original 100% natural ingredients approach and realising this, Coca Cola saw the opportunity for a second life for Mother Energy. They were not ready to give up just yet!  

Competitor Analysis 

Mother Energy Drink looked to it's competitors; Red Bull & V Energy Drink, who were broadening their target markets (past that of the male youth). So, Mother decided to go niche. Back to basics. Coca Cola saw the gap and lack of market focus from the other energy drink companies, and established Mother's target market as the typical ‘blokey’ male, specifically 18-24 year old's. Along with the dramatic changes in the appearance and taste of the product, Coca Cola dropped a cool $3 million marketing campaign pushing the 'New - tastes nothing like the old one!'.

Mother energy drink pushed the slogan 'New Taste' to shed the old brand association.


Target Market 

The energy drink decided to tap into their target market and become one of the ‘boys’. With their honest approach of admitting to ‘getting it wrong’ the first time around, Mother saturated the media and advertised the new message. A major puzzle piece in the campaign included the TV ad below. The concept saw the ‘new’ Mother team attacking and arresting the ‘old’ Mother team for getting it so wrong.

The daring TV ad which aired in 2008 to coincide with Mother's re-launch.


The advertisement went so well that it received coverage by multiple media outlets. The ad received extensive coverage for the energy drinks' playful nature. Multiple complaints also arose due to the violent nature of the ad, leading to a time slot restriction. Now the ad was only to be played after 9:30 pm. Mother saw this as a perfect advertising opportunity for the company to play to their target market. Following this, Mother released a stick figure animated version of the advertisement to cater for the restriction.

Mother released an amended version of it's controversial TV ad in 2008, to allow for it to be shown on TV before 9:30pm


Results

Tending to Australia’s ‘second chance’ nature, the campaign was a success. The re-brand propelled Mother Energy into the third most consumed energy drink in Australia.

Mother successfully re-launched in 2008, following a re-brand, new formula and $3 million marketing campaign.


Current Range

In 2017, Mother Energy Drink introduced new packaging and flavours with 5 available in multiple sizes and packs. The flavours available include Original, Sugar Free, Frosty Berry, Kicked Apple and Passion. The base of the flavoured energy drinks is the original flavour (then reformulated in 2008) and the ingredients have been kept the same.

Like most other energy drinks Taurine, Guarana Extract and Caffeine are the key ingredients of Mother. Mother Original also contains Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Food Acids (330, 331), Colour (150d), Preservative (202), Flavour and Vitamins (NiacinPantothenic Acid, B6, B12). The Sugar Free version excludes the Sucrose and there’s a notable difference in taste. So if you enjoy the ‘healthier’ alternative be prepared for a notable lack of sweetness.

Mother has changed the packaging of its sugar free product, although the ingredients have stayed the same.

 

With Mother changing their flavours, the brand has taken a hit with some consumers, as is evident on their social media pages. Currently Mother describes it's Original flavour as “Mother's had a makeover! But although she looks different, she's still the original you know and love.”It’s no wonder the energy drink has tried ease the burden on existing customers!

Where Does Mother Energy Drink Stand In 2018?

Although changes can always be difficult for a loyal customer base to accept, Mother Energy is once again in a difficult time in trying to sustain its position within an ever changing and competitive energy drinks market. Now more than ever, the energy drink market has seen a change in what consumers are expecting. In 2006 the market was not ready for Mother's 100% natural energy drink. Now in 2018, we've seen all the major players release sugar free/natural versions. In fact natural energy drinks have become a market in their own right. REIZE, Shine+, Food Matters and plenty more have developed less artificial versions of classic energy drinks. 

So, it's no surprise that Mother are moving towards such trends and broadening their appeal to an ever changing market. The fine line between balancing an existing customer base and expanding towards a new one will always be a tricky feat. In the end it's all for the people, after all who doesn't love their Mother?  

 

Written by Nina Prica