Growth Strategy: Playing it safe with Savanna


According to the AA The rule of drinking and driving is simple, don’t do it. It is a proven fact that your driving is impaired after even one unit of alcohol, so it is safer to not drink at all when you know you will be driving. More than 21,000 people have been arrested on our roads in the last year as a result of drinking and driving. It has been shown that 50% of people who die on our roads are over the limit. 1


Statistics like these are hitting home with consumers. More and more people are coming to the realisation that they cannot take chances on the road any longer. It is becoming the norm to have a single drink or even discard alcohol all together. In 2014 WHO reported that 42% of South Africans have never consumed alcohol and 17.3% who use to drink but had stopped. For a brands that make their money selling alcoholic products this poses a problem. How do grow you market if the world is pushing people in the other direction.


One example is the well-established cider brand Savanna. Savanna Dry is sold in over 40 countries, and it is South Africa’s leading cider export and the third-largest cider brand in the world. (2). The brand has seen phenomenal growth over the past 10 years expanding its offering. The brand has positioned itself as the drink of choice for many female South Africans. In my opinion this brand is in an ideal position to develop its product offering by introducing a non-alcoholic option.


The brand will be able to use it’s the values and characteristics build around the current products to associate with its non-alcoholic version. The brand tagline, It’s dry but you can drink it, will transcend perfectly to this new line.


One of the key factors to address is the public perception around Non-Alcholoic beverages. It is often seen inferior product to it’s alcoholic family. In my view this perception can be changed if marketed correctly. If Savanna can establish the perception that the product is as much fun and refreshing as its “lite” and “dry” versions with less risk. It goes without saying that the taste should be almost identical. Products should be advertised together. Therefore, the consumer sees it as a group of products would not place the non-alcoholic version as an outsider to the brand. Consumers are looking for more choice and by offering this within one brand stable they stand a better chance of retaining its customers.


This horizontal brand extension will even have a positive effect on the main brands as the non-alcoholic version would reach a new consumer group. The company should keep its packaging in line with the rest of the products, again establishing the unity. The Savana bottle shape has become iconic and instantly recognizable.


The non-alcoholic version can also be a brand extension moving the brand into a new category. Brand promotion in this non-alcoholic space would create more awareness for all the products in the Savana stable.


The company would risk impacting the reputation of its main product line as its current customer base might find it confusing. That said it can also be seen as a big moral play that should be positively received by public. It is no secret that alcohol companies support responsible drinking and this will be seen as a big step in the right direction.


As for a name, well I few comes to mind, Savana Extra Lite, Savanna Zero or even Savanna 0.0. Campaign lines can be around the continuation of the fun. Hinting that with the new product you can now enjoy more than one as it will not affect your ability to drive.



If the company makes sure they stay on-brand with all its efforts around the new product offering it should see an increase in sales, an increase in customer sentiment as well as greater brand awareness. The key to the success is to communicate it in same manner as the rest to ensure that customers feel they are buying a Savanna and not a watered down version of it. In essence a Cider with no alcohol and not a cool drink with a alcoholic name.