In this essay I intend to study the brand of Lucozade and document how and why it has developed its brand image by giving a brief and accurate history of its development in time. To do this I have chosen to study the product over four of its most important decades of branding, they include the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s. Lucozade is an energy drink product that has radically changed its brand image over the years, first developed in 1927 by a Newcastle chemist “using glucose syrup to provide a source of energy for people who were ill”1.
Back then Lucozade was called Glucozade, this was before it was renamed by dropping the first letter in 1929. After enjoying large success, commercial brand Beechams bought out the Lucozade company in 1938. This boosted the brand to a new nationwide recognition as it became a household name. 2 The brand has since gone on to improve and re-develop not only the products purposes but also the whole target market for which the drink is aimed at. Lucozade achieved all of this through the power of media advertising.
Over the past fifty years the most extensive mainstream source of product advertising has undoubtedly been the use of television advertisement. Such commercials have become an everyday part of our lives and in doing so have attained an unlimited influence on today’s consumer market. Television product advertisements are extremely dependant on the use of images, often brought to life by actors. This added use of celebrity makes these advertisements far more memorable than those in newspapers and magazines or on billboards.
Whether combined with words or not, the images in these commercials aim to reveal new ways of visualizing ourselves, places and events. By illustrating a certain view of the world through the product, advertisers can then imply that their target audience could also be a part of this branded world, if only they purchased the product featured in the advertisement. 3 The Lucozade adverts I have studied fulfilled this criterion. The very earliest advert from the 1960s showed a recuperating child and his mother both enjoying the restorative benefits of the product.
This advert targeted middle-class mothers in their pleasant, suburban family homes although it may have worked as an advantage in some cases where lower class mothers would want to aspire to the middle class image the advert demonstrates. This ultimately was too much of a limitation in the marketing for Lucozade, as the falling sales confirmed. Slogans are crucial if an advertising campaign is going to succeed. Advertisers can use various approaches such as humour, rhymes and unusual spellings, for example, “Beanz Meanz Heinz” was a popular campaign slogan for Heinz Baked Beans.
Conversely, whatever approaches a campaign employs, the slogan is that of the most importance. It is this that sticks in the consumer’s mind so therefore it must always be catching. Unfortunately by the end of the 1970s, Lucozade was suffering from the very success of its own original slogan, “Lucozade Aids Recovery”. This slogan made consumers think it was a product only for the unwell, which may well have been useful when it was launched in 1927, however by this time it was ever more harmful to product sales due to improving social conditions and medical care.
Furthermore damaging at this time was the fact that Lucozade was only available in restricted outlets such as chemists or specialist shops. It was also only available in the one original flavour and it was being packaged in large cumbersome glass bottles, this concurrently, only added to its medical appeal. By the 1980s the brand had a good reputation, wide profit margins and lack of direct competition, it was also moved to a 250 ml bottle with a resealable cap for people to enjoy on-the-go.
Yet this was not enough to ensure the product’s survival in the face of steadily decreasing sales and no realistic hope of recovery. It was time to make some radical changes to Lucozade otherwise the brand would continue to suffer the consequences of it being a product no longer in tune with the times. Often the first thing to influence a prospective customer will be the overall design of a product and this works hand in hand with its advertising campaign. Design and image work together with the advertising copy and product logo to contribute to a certain view of a particular product or service.
Lucozade created a new image by updating all the positive features of the original product, such as its well-known trusted brand name and its association with glucose and health. In one dramatic move a new campaign was launched and sick beds and recovering children were swept away to be replaced by the world’s number one athlete, Daley Thompson, the Olympic gold medal winner, beaming like the epitome of health and fitness. To achieve design consistency, the new advertising campaign was filmed in tones of gold.
This was to be seen as Lucozade’s corporate colour and would play as an important link to the original product. The old slogan was disregarded and although there was no actual replacement, the energetic style of the filming, the rock music soundtrack and powerful slow-motion camera shots implied a slogan of “Lucozade equals energy and fitness”. Lucozade successfully portrayed the image of the elite sportsman enjoying the energizing benefits of the product and using Daley Thompson in the advert went down extremely well in the sports world and throughout the British public.
The image of energy was further reinforced by the advert being set trackside instead of bedside and the overall effect could be described as a means of non-verbal communication. The viewers automatically recognized the implicit meaning of the athlete, the setting and the product. Lucozade’s progressive change of brand image in its advertisements up to this point had gone from “Lucozade Aids Recovery” to “Lucozade Aids Performance”. This change in tone suddenly and dramatically enabled Lucozade to have a far larger target audience and much greater overall appeal.
Consumers were now seeing Lucozade as a new and trendy energy enhancing soft drink, because it had been associated with popular music styles of the time and the athlete Daley Thomson. The brands aim to move away from its association with sick children had been achieved. Perhaps the most memorable for those of the computer generation was the Lucozade adverts including the ever popular 1990’s computer icon Lara Croft. This boosted Lucozade’s appeal to a broader market.
Whereas some young people and women in particular might have found it difficult to relate to a real multi-Olympic gold medal winning athlete like Daley Thompson, the world of top computer character, Lara Croft, is far more accessible to all age groups and genders. In my opinion, the Lara Croft campaign was Lucozade’s most successful to date. It ingeniously linked the product with the very latest in entertainment technology of the time, tapping into an unfound source. Lucozade realized that advertising campaigns can be entertaining as well as a means of fulfilling their more traditional functions.
Lucozade did not simply use a section of a Lara Croft game, but created a completely original sequence. In the sequence Lara drinks Lucozade to gain energy in order for her to escape pursuing dogs. Equally importantly, they made full use of the camera angle that allowed them to strategically place their product in front of Lara’s most famous physical assets, her breasts. This certainly made male viewers take note and brought a new found sexiness to the brand itself. This campaign used the slogan “Lucozade – The refreshing pause. ”
In my opinion the reason for Lucozade’s success over the decades is due to the way they produce their television advert campaigns. In each of the adverts I have studied from the various different eras there has been one thing that has been made apparent to me, each advert has a very clear start, middle and ending. Each advert also illustrates the benefits of using Lucozade through a method of storytelling. In the first advert from the 1960’s, there appears to be a sick child, the child is then given Lucozade by his mother and was then seen to improve as he cheerfully tapped his big glass bottle of Lucozade as if it was a drum.
Throughout the advert the product was cleverly positioned to be in the foreground of the camera shot, almost to the point of being part of the family. By the 1980’s, the beginning, middle and end of the adverts’ story was a illustration image of traffic lights using a “stop, get ready and go” theme . The visually slick advert showed Daley Thompson tired at first, illustrating stop. The athlete then refreshed himself with an energizing bottle of Lucozade that was shown glowing amber to make it the adverts focal point and to emphasize its energy.
Finally, the green light is seen and Daley runs up the track towards us in slow motion to demonstrate his renewed power and energy, all courtesy of the Lucozade of course. In the 1999 Lucozade advert I studied, the beginning of the story sees Lara Croft fleeing the pursuing dogs towards a canyon. The middle of the story is the predicament of how to cross the canyon and we see that Lara is genuinely scared. Finally though, after choosing Lucozade over various other energy giving products, such as a rival soft drink and a chocolate bar, Lara triumphs and escapes while the dogs perish.
The message of the advert is clearly that Lucozade is as much the “hero” as the character of Lara Croft. The ways in which Lucozade has been marketed in over the decades demonstrates that the nature of brand advertising itself has changed, as has the Lucozade product. To quote Beechams own report, 95% of Lucozade’s sales presently come from Lucozade products that did not exist before 1980, proving that the change was essential. Advertisers have always tried to appeal to our desires to be good parents, successful career men or women or part of a happy family and they still do.
They still exploit our wish to be beautiful, healthy, powerful and knowledgeable although now with a great deal more subtlety. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, it was commonly believed that the mass media injected their message into unsuspecting consumers who were unable to form their own opinions. Advertisements from this period such as Lucozade’s “good mum giving good product to sick child” would now be considered patronizing and inappropriate. It deliberately exploited our desire to be good parents by making us feel guilty if we did not buy Lucozade to aid our child’s recovery.
The male voice-over would have suggested authority in a way that we would now find politically incorrect. Lucozade adverts have successfully responded to changing times and transformed their image quite a few times through the decades. In conclusion, using product development throughout the decades, the brand advertisers of Lucozade have successfully changed their image and therefore target audience from the 1960’s image of “good mothers” and have went on to reach out to a broader scale of people who just simply enjoy soft drinks and want energy through their 1980’s and 1990’s campaigns.
This progressive marketing over the decades has seen Lucozade not only survive as a product, but dramatically increase its market share as well. In a society that is ever more concerned with body image and fitness I believe Lucozade will go on to develop their product and with this only grow in success. The way they brand their product is excellent; the latest slogan of “Body and Brain Power” is something I know appeals to a lot of people, especially students to aid them throughout the exam period which is why I came to choosing this exciting and dynamic product.