Tab Energy Branding – Will It Work?

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Tab has a new energy drink, which I noticed yesterday at the grocery. So of course I came home and looked it up online to learn more. After all, why release an energy drink with such a close association to another cola?

It seems that Tab Energy is aimed at women, and that the focus is on the low calorie nature of the drink. This isn't new. Sugar free Red Bull has been out for years, and many energy drinks come in sugary and diet forms. The thing that interests me about this branding move is that most energy drinks are released as new standalone products, not versions of an existing product. So what's the deal with Tab?

My guess is that, because Coca-Cola was so late to the energy drink market (no surprise there) and has done such a poor job with Full Throttle (the energy drink they have put the most marketing $$$ into) they decided to go out on a limb and try to tie an energy drink to the success of an existing drink. Tab = low calorie. They are extending that idea to the new product. But are calories the reason people don't drink energy drinks? I assumed taste was the primary problem.

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Will the move work? It is the first energy drink I can think of that has targeted a niche market (women, in this case). That is probably a good idea. But latching on to Tab? I think these kind of brand changes can get confusing. Red Bull has been so successful, according to the book "Brand Hijack", because customers could define it the way they wanted. With Tab Energy, I think Coca-Cola is telling customers what the brand is. My prediction is that it won't be the smash hit they are hoping for, but who knows? (About half the time I predict something on this blog, I'm wrong anyway).