Rosie Davenport
Bulmers has pledged to restore value to the cider market by scrapping its discounting policy and focusing on marketing.
Strongbow's ad spend has been upped to £13m in 2003 to fund the return of the Get a Thirst First' campaign starting in June with last year's TV creatives. Radio ads and an outdoor poster initiative are also planned along with increased sampling at this summer's festivals.
But the key change to strategy is in pricing, which, Bulmers admits, has been potentially damaging to the category.
Sales director for take home Colin Smith said: "Our strategy for the last few years has been towards commoditisation and an aggressive discounting strategy. But we can't afford to wait to get some value back.
"We have been very driven about getting into a top 10 table of consumer drinks brands."
Bulmers intends to cut the frequency of promotions and the amount it gives away extra free' in cans and bottles, to increase the drinks' value in terms of pence per litre.
One senior buyer backed Bulmers' new strategy. "In the past Bulmers has done activity with retailers which was outstripping value and going against everything it stood for."
The new approach aims to rebuild the business ­ now £107m in debt ­ which Bulmers admits was partly caused by promotions in the off-trade.