With legal disputes behind it, Schweppes rebrands and relaunches

Theodore May
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Schweppes on Monday launched a new brand of the drinks that have made it a leader in Egypt over the past 30 years.

In its rebranding efforts, Schweppes is embarking on a new advertising campaign and a redesign of the Schweppes can.

This relaunch comes on the heels of a dispute that started last November, when Société Nationale d’Industries Nutritive (SONUT), an Egyptian bottling company, filed a $200 million lawsuit against Coca-Cola, which owns Schweppes, claiming that Coke tried to run it out of business.

Schweppes executives confirmed that SONUT, which used to bottle and distribute Schweppes in Egypt, no longer does business with the Atlanta-based company.

After launching in Egypt in the late 1970s, Schweppes swept to prominence in the early 1980s after featuring a series of now-iconic ads starring actor Hassan Abdeen staring down a shark, conducting an all-Schweppes orchestra, and marching with the Buckingham Palace guards.

But with time, the brand slid and the company lost a generation of soda drinkers in the process.

This week’s event aimed, once again, to put Schweppes out in front of the competition. Central to the theme of the campaign is the argument that Schweppes, unlike some of its competitors, isn’t, in fact, soda. The campaign also aims to recapture some of Schweppes’ old magic by touching on some of the themes executives say set their product apart.

“As one of the longest standing brands in Egypt, said Ghada Makady, Senior PAC Manager for North and West Africa, “Schweppes holds a unique position of popularity and nostalgia in the minds of Egyptian consumers since the old historical campaign of the famous celebrity Hassan Abdeen, and we are very excited about this re-launch of the authentic Schweppes brand.

The television spots, which are set to air on networks across the country, tie Schweppes’ past successes in with a new outlook. Clips of the old Abdeen ads flicker across TV screens as the camera zooms in on the newly designed can.

Schweppes knows it’s been off the air for 25 years, says the announcer. But Schweppes is back, he continues, just to prove to everyone the brand hasn’t gone anywhere.

The can in the ad is wrapped in writing, explaining the history of the drink which, founded in 1783, claims to be the oldest carbonated beverage in the world.

Gone is the old slogan, “The Secret of Schweppes, a remnant of the Abdeen era.

“This is not a soft drink, the announcer says, invoking the new tagline, “this is Schweppes.

The new slogan, said Sarah Sadek, Schweppes Brand Manager, is part of an effort to stay ahead of the competition and stay different.

“The slogan is mainly driven from the initiative that Schweppes does not need to follow the traditional trends that other carbonated soft drinks in advertising, she explained.

Schweppes, Sadek argued, isn’t a soft drink because it uses natural juice that others don’t.

In enlisting Abdeen more than two decades ago, Sadek said, the company was the first in Egypt to bridge the worlds of celebrity and advertising. Now that Egypt’s famous faces regularly appear on television endorsing products, Schweppes was eager to move onto a new concept – one that bluntly announces the brand’s comeback after 25 years.

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