Tech & Science Faced with the erosion of pastis, Ricard launches a flavored version to seduce young people
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Faced with the erosion of the very profitable pastis, the French giant flavored and organic version to appeal to a younger audience.
The exercise is perilous. It is about modernizing a brand whose customers are unconditional fans. No question of disappointing them, but the pastis of Marseille cannot be satisfied to see its customers age and decline. With 23 million liters sold annually in supermarkets (representing 475 million euros in sales), it is still the best-selling brand of alcohol in supermarkets.
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Better, the 1 liter bottle of Ricard is the product with the highest turnover in supermarkets in France. On the profit side, the Pernod Ricard group is very discreet about the profitability of its historic brand, but, of public notoriety, it is optimal. The manufacturing process is ultra-simple, an immutable blend of alcohol and aromas, no aging in barrels like cognac or whiskey, communication limited by the rigor of the anti-alcohol law and industrial facilities largely amortized.
The only problem is that the consumption of the product created in 1932 by the brilliant Paul Ricard is falling. 2% last year, and even 5% in the last financial semester. This decline is not new and mobilizes all the initiatives of the firm. "Ricard will forever remain the brand with which it all started," explains Alexandre Ricard, president of the world number two in spirits and grandson of the founder. It is inseparable from our identity as well as from our strategy, since it plays an essential role in our approach at times of consumption.
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This is why, without changing its fundamentals, Ricard is launching innovations this summer to attract a new audience, younger, more urban, more feminine. "Anise has a strong, divisive taste, and it is very difficult for it to recruit," observes expert Philippe Faure-Brac, best sommelier in the world in 1992 and restaurateur in Paris. It is very wise to attenuate this aroma and offer an organic version for those who wish to display responsible consumption. After numerous tests, two versions bearing the official "organic farming" logo in place of the founder’s signature are launched by the wine merchants, one with lemon, the other with almond. The price is also dividing: 24 euros for 70 centilitres.
The brand recommends tasting them with seven to ten volumes of water, which makes it a refreshing aperitif with less alcohol than the Marseilles version, diluted five times. "For the time being, organic anise comes from Mediterranean countries, while waiting to find a French industry," explains Anne Tremsal, director of marketing, who at the same time launches the advertising campaign "Born in Marseille", which insists on roots of the brand by modernizing its symbols. We see magnificent panoramic views of the Marseille city, its bars of buildings and its trendy bartenders relegating the Old Port and the Good Mother. A facelift that may give a boost to sales.
"Born in Marseille" advertising campaign and bottles of organic almond and lemon Ricard. To win over more urban and feminine customers, the brand is focusing on the top of the range: 24 euros per bottle of 70 centilitres for wine merchants. (Pernod Ricard)
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