CCE is investing another £1.5m on its energy drink brand Relentless next year as it aims to steal a greater share of the Red Bull-dominated sector through targeted marketing.

It is eschewing TV ads in favour of sponsorship and sampling centred on action sports and rock music. The plans will build on initial launch support, which also included cinema ads and online and viral activity.

Launched in February this year amid some scepticism from the market, Relentless is valued at more than £2.7m - a figure that some gurus now believe is worth praising. "For a niche energy drink in a larger size, launched with what was effectively guerilla marketing, this is a great performance," said Bill Bruce, managing editor of soft drinks expert Zenith International Publishing. "All credit to Coke for reinventing itself. Niche brands might be the way for it to go."

Although the vast majority of CCE's sales still come from its signature carbonates stable, it has been diversifying to establish itself in emerging markets. It has launched coffee in three countries and is bringing out a metabolism-stimulating green tea called Enviga in parts of Europe. Its energy drinks stable already includes Burn and Full Throttle, which is performing well in the US. The company believes that, with the UK energy drink sector growing at 13.5% year on year, there are opportunities to grow Relentless here. "Relentless has been embraced across the core action sport and music culture that inspired its positioning," said brand team member Simon Hawkins.

The drink, which contains caffeine, taurine and guarana, comes in a 500ml can, twice the size of most competitors, which "offers better value for money".

Distribution has focused on grocery and forecourts but CCE is looking to build this through all channels, including introducing coolers within the independent sector and launching 4 x 500ml multipacks.

Single packs will flag up functional promises more clearly with 'Energy Drink' and 'No Half Measures' flashes.