Nestlé Rowntree took the bull by the horns this year when it launched Aero’s first bitesize product - Aero Bubbles - into the confectionery market, which has recently been criticised for too little innovation and too many me-too products.
The chocolates, which are dual-coloured, bitesize balls of bubbly peppermint Aero, hit shelves in April as part of a powerful programme of activity aimed at breathing new life into the chocolate brand.
The treat has had a good start and a warm welcome from buyers. It has clocked up sales of £11.3m since launch [ACNielsen MAT to October 29, 2005] and has managed to secure distribution in 63% of all possible outlets. “It has established a very good sales performance in the market, following brief supply issues after the launch, and the future looks promising for the newcomer, which has already become a key product,” said Nisaway category controller Brian Porter, who puts the success of the brand down to a number of factors. “A major factor was the launch, which saw a massive drive on the Aero brand in general, including significant marketing support. On top of this, it is well presented, innovative and delivers to the consumer - the marketing support was spot on.”
Nestlé supported the launch with a £500,000 spend on point-of-sale and a £6m advertising spend, including TV ads, which supported both Bubbles and the generic Aero brand. Available in 42g impulse packs (rsp: 43p) and sharing resealable 147g pouches (£1.49), trial has been good, but there is room for improvement. Six per cent of ACNielsen’s consumer panel have tried it, with an impressive 23% of those coming back for a second purchase.
It is yet to be seen if Aero Bubbles lives up to the expectations of Nestlé, which at launch said it expected the product to add £25m in sales to the Aero brand in its first 12 months on-shelf. According to Nestlé, there is plenty of scope within the bite-size category, which it said is continuing to show strong growth - up 40% in the past five years.