Coca-Cola Enterprises has thrown down the gauntlet to soft drinks competitors by more than doubling its media budget to £55.4m this year. It is the biggest spend yet in the £4.1bn UK soft drinks market [ACNielsen], which has seen marketing increases across the board. Danone is pouring £25m behind its brands in the booming bottled water sector, GlaxoSmithKline is backing Ribena with £27m, while Procter & Gamble has set aside £11m to rescue ailing Sunny Delight. Pepsi's UK parent Britvic has yet to announce its plans but spent £15m on its portfolio last year. The lion's share of CCE's spend ­ £21.6m ­ goes to flagship brand Coca-Cola, to promote its World Cup sponsorship which includes four limited edition sleeved bottles depicting England players. Diet Coke gets £9.6m to support its new lemon-flavoured variant (The Grocer, April 6, p50) ­ the company's first innovation for nearly two decades ­ as well as an ongoing raunchy television campaign and activity around the Bridget Jones film sequel. Other big spends go on Fanta (£4.3m), Sprite (£3.8m) and Dr Pepper (£3.4m), while new sports energy drink Powerade will get £2.8m. Marketing director Ian Deste said the company had "no immediate plans" for new products. Andrew Czarnowski, md of TN Sofres Superpanel, said he was surprised by CCE's extra spend but added that it made sense to back "expensive" World Cup rights. He said the market still had room for expansion. "We drink a fraction of what the US consumes. "There are still a lot of volume and new drinking occasion opportunities." {{NEWS }}