No Nanny State -- Sugar Tax And 'Latte Levy' Are Marketing Opportunities

Marketing is all about tapping into customer habits and influencing them to a brand's benefit. As such, there is much food for thought today. As new regulation and changing attitudes begin to bite, surely marketing opportunities abound?

First of all, we have the news pictures of people stockpiling Irn Bru. It's hard to tell in the southeast of England whether the stories are correct. We're 400 miles or so away from where this sugary, fizzy drink is venerated.

Personally, I empathise with one London commentator who didn't want to offend the Scots but wondered aloud if it isn't just a sweeter version of Lucozade. But then, I know how much Scottish friends and colleagues love the drink, particularly the morning after the night before. So maybe it really is the perfect pickup after Burns Night?

Nevertheless, it's very sugary and high in calories, and the new, healthier recipe will be in place before April's sugar tax hits. This will raise a litre bottle of sugary drinks by between 18 to 24 pence, depending on the sugar level. 

For me, this sounds like a few people have said something on social and the makers of Irn Bru are more than willing to ensure the story gains "legs" and have the public believe they need to stockpile the current formula. 

However, surely the opportunity here is to have a sub brand, after April, which is high in sugar. Call it "old style" or "traditional" and charge the extra 6 to 8 pence per can and see how the market lies. If there are enough people who want to kick out at the nanny state taxing sugar, then there's a new brand right there.

Same with the "Latte Levy." Clearly, cups that cannot be recycled are an environmental menace. So while the boffins try to make a recyclable cup that holds coffee without making it taste of cardboard, there is another massive opportunity here.

Why aren't coffee brands giving away or heavily discounting reusable plastic cups? It's now a headline issue and people will want to do their bit, so why not encourage them to walk around with a Starbucks or Costa reusable cup or mini Thermos flask? The brand gets the branding and the customer gets to save the world for less cost.

I know some brands are offering discounts on people bringing in their own cups, so why not tap into this and offer a free plastic, branded cup with every few drinks ordered or perhaps give away or discount Thermos flask when people download or next use your app to order?

The plastic bag charge has been circumvented by shops selling, and then replacing, "bags for life" that save us from the menace of landfill sites and hedges full of plastic shopping bags. More to the point, though, these new bags have prompted people to walk around carrying their usual supermarket's branding with them even when they are not shopping but simply need a durable bag.

So, "old style" "traditional" Irn Bru and reusable Costa Cups or Starbucks Mini-Thermos have to be the way forward, don't they? Customers are waking up to the damage our previous consumption habits have had on the environment and our health. It has to be a marketer's job to tap into these developments and get their branding all over the new opportunities it creates. 

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