from Stuart Whitwell, joint MD, Intangible Business

Sir; I was interested, but not surprised, to see recent reports on the decline of the alcopop (or RTD) market. Their decline cannot be attributed to pricing and legislation issues alone, but to the failure to evolve the product brand attributes in line with the changing needs of the fickle 18-24 age group.
RTDs were introduced largely as a novelty for the youth market. However, those who drank RTDs in their droves between the late 1990s and 2002 are now several years older and have moved on to more sophisticated, less sweet, alternatives. RTDs failed to attract the new generation of 18-24s and failed to keep pace with trends affecting its original consumers.
The challenge now is first to attract the new 18-24 generation with innovation such as sports caps; second, to re-engage with its original, now more mature, market with more sophisticated products; and third, to broaden appeal to specific target groups.