Lucozade is making its first move into the cola market with a new addition to its Lucozade Energy range.

Lucozade Energy Cola, which features a black label designed to set it apart from other Lucozade drinks, will be rolling out this month in 380ml and 500ml bottles. It carries a ‘limited-edition’ flash and is scheduled to be on shelf for about a year, although brand owner GlaxoSmithKline admitted it may become a permanent listing if successful.

The company did not, however, intend to take on Coca-Cola or Pepsi, it insisted, and was advising retailers to merchandise Lucozade Energy Cola with other energy drinks.

“While some consumers may see it as a replacement to their usual cola, it is not in direct competition with Coca-Cola or Pepsi,” said brand manager Matt McKie.

Taste had been the key driver in the development of the ­product, he added: “The retailers told us the cola had got to taste ­fantastic.”

GSK will be supporting the roll-out with promotional activity, PoS and an integrated marketing campaign including advertising, digital and PR.

The launch takes Lucozade into a notoriously difficult market. One of the most recent entrants to the £1.4bn market, Red Bull, has failed to gain ­traction with its cola, launched in 2008. According to the latest SymphonyIRI figures, sales of Red Bull Cola have crashed 51% year-on-year to just over £1m [52w/e 3 September 2011].

To continue to grow the Lucozade Energy brand, GSK needed a product that was not so firmly associated only with sport and would appeal to consumers outside its core male audience, said branding expert Richard Buchanan of agency The Clearing.

“It will need to taste great and be suitable for a range of occasions,” he added. “As they say, it can’t beat Coke or equal Pepsi but will steal share from them if they get it right.”

Sales of the Lucozade Energy brand have grown 3.9% year-on-year to £252m [Nielsen 3 September 2011].