Marketed in the last thirty years

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With reference to the adverts you have studied, investigate the ways in which ‘Lucozade’ has been marketed in the last thirty years. The most far-reaching mainstream source of product advertising over the last thirty years has undoubtedly been on television, where product advertisements are now such an everyday part of our lives that we almost take them for granted. Television product advertisements rely far more heavily on images, and because they are often brought to life by actors, the images are far more powerful than those in newspapers and magazines or on billboards. Whether combined with words or not, the images aim to reveal new ways of visualizing ourselves, places and events.

By producing a certain view of the world in this way, advertisers can then suggest that their target audience could also be a part of this world – if only they bought the right product. All three Lucozade adverts we studied fulfilled this criterion – including the very earliest advert from the 1960s that showed a recuperating child and his mother both enjoying the restorative benefits of the product. By the 1980s, the world Lucozade portrayed was that of the elite sportsman enjoying the energizing benefits of the product, and most recently, the world Lucozade portrayed had the even broader appeal of possibly the computer character of the 1990s.

Whereas some young people and women might have found it difficult to aspire to or relate to a real multi-Olympic gold medal winning decathlete like Daley Thompson, the world of top computer character, Lara Croft, is far more accessible to all age groups and genders. In other words, Beechams had changed Lucozade’s target audience from ‘good mothers’ in the 1960s to anyone who drinks soft drinks and wants energy in the 1980s and 1990s. This progressive marketing over the last three decades has seen Lucozade not only survive as a product, but dramatically increase its market share as well.

Slogans are crucial if an advertising campaign is going to succeed. Advertisers can use various approaches such as humour, unusual spellings, for example, ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’, and rhymes, among many others to work on our emotions. Whatever approach a campaign uses, though, the slogan must always be eye or ear catching because it is this that sticks in the consumer’s mind. Ironically, 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 sick – which may have been useful when it was launched in the late 1920s but was increasingly harmful to product sales with improving social conditions and medical care. Furthermore it was only available in restricted outlets such as chemists or specialist shops, only packaged in large cumbersome glass bottles, and only in the one original flavour.

A good reputation, wide profit margins and lack of direct competition are not enough to ensure a product’s survival in the face of steadily decreasing sales and no realistic hope of recovery. In short, it was time to make some radical changes to Lucozade or continue to suffer the consequences of it being a product no longer in tune with the times. It was time to get rid of the image that had targeted middle-class mothers in their cosy, suburban family homes. There were some advantages to this setting because it would also have appealed to mothers from a lower class who aspired to the middle class image the advert portrayed, but ultimately it was too limiting and narrow a market place for Lucozade, as demonstrated by the falling sales. Lucozade were effectively ‘placing all their eggs in one basket’ by restricting their target market to low and middle-class mothers with sick children.

Often the first thing to influence a prospective customer will be the overall design of a product, and this is the same 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. Beechams decided to give Lucozade a new image by updating all the positive features of the original product, such as its well-known and trusted brand name and its association with glucose and health. In one dramatic move, sick beds and recovering children were swept away and replaced with the world’s number one athlete and an image of health and fitness. To achieve design consistency, the new advertising campaign was filmed in gold tones – Lucozade’s corporate colour – an important link with the original product.

The old slogan was dropped 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’. 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. In other words, the viewers automatically recognize the implicit meaning of the athlete, the setting and the product, i.e. the non-verbal signals of health and fitness, and can therefore make certain assumptions about the new Lucozade. To summarise Lucozade’s progressive change of brand image in its advertisements up to this point, we could say that they had gone from ‘Lucozade Aids Recovery’ to ‘Lucozade Aids Performance’. This change in tone suddenly and dramatically gave Lucozade a far larger target audience and far greater overall appeal.

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