Coca-Cola Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation In Japan
The #1 Advertising Award in Japan, Launch of Coca-Cola Zero, Investment in Tokyo Bottler, Establishment of New Japan Foundation with 1 Billion Yen Donation Highlight Golden Anniversary
The Coca-Cola Company this week celebrates its 50th anniversary in Japan, a key market that has contributed significantly to the Company’s overall success over the past half century.
In June 1957, Coca-Cola was introduced to Japanese consumers, and for the last 50 years the Company and its bottling partners have led the nonalcoholic beverage industry in Japan with innovation and strong marketplace execution.
“Coca-Cola Japan’s growth – and its recognition as a Japanese corporate citizen, rooted in the local marketplace – is the result of successive generations of excellent managerial leadership, the dedication of employees, and the tireless efforts of bottling partners and affiliates,” said Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Company.
“Across all geographies around the world, we are inspired and fortified by the leadership and innovations that we’ve come to expect over the last half-century from Coca-Cola Japan,” said Muhtar Kent, president and chief operating officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “Japan is absolutely critical to our system’s future growth. Not only because of the sheer size of this market, but also because of the constant stream of leadership and innovation that springs from this great nation.”
During the past half-century, the Coca-Cola system in Japan has pioneered many beverage industry innovations – from new products to cutting-edge vending machine technology – serving as a model for Coca-Cola operations around the world.
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With a beverage portfolio of more than 60 brands, consisting of over 200 sparkling and still beverage products, the Company is the leading nonalcoholic beverage company in Japan and has a long history of product innovation.
Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite have long been favorites with Japanese consumers. And just this month, the Company introduced another sparkling beverage innovation – Coca-Cola Zero, a great tasting cola with zero calories – to the Japan market. Key customers, including McDonald’s, are helping to sample over 5 million packages in June.
This follows the very successful launch of the “Coke Side of Life,” which according to CM Databank’s monthly consumer survey is the most popular advertising campaign in Japan. This marks the second consecutive year Coca-Cola Japan advertising has earned this honor.
Building on its core sparkling beverage business, the Company began expanding its offerings to include a wide variety of still beverages. In 1975, the Company recognized the potential of ready-to-drink coffee and introduced Georgia Coffee, the number one ready-to-drink coffee in Japan. With 17 flavors, Georgia Coffee is the recognized leader in this key category. Complementing the Georgia Coffee platform, the Company earlier this year launched Patissiolle, a new chilled cup coffee product in a proprietary aluminum package.
In 1983, the Company launched Aquarius, which has become the nation’s number-one sports drink. In the 1990s, Sokenbicha ready-to-drink tea was introduced and is now the category leader in Japan.
The Company and its bottling partners have long led the way in vending machine innovation. The Company introduced hot and cold vending machines, cashless payment options and networked vending systems. Today, Coca-Cola has more than one million vending machines that sell its beverages in convenient, fun and interactive ways to Japanese consumers.
The Coca-Cola Company’s 50 years of success in Japan reflects the strength of the relationship with its 12 bottling partners, who are recognized for their advanced market development and execution capabilities.
Over the years, the Coca-Cola system has taken significant actions to increase efficiency and invest in the business, including the consolidation of Coca-Cola West Japan, Kinki CCBC and Mikasa CCBC and the formation of national supply chain (Coca-Cola National Beverages) and customer (Coca-Cola Customer Marketing Company) companies.
Reflecting the importance of the bottling partnership and the significance of the Japanese market, the Company announced earlier today it was making a strategic investment in the Tokyo Coca-Cola Bottling Company by taking a 34% ownership stake in the Bottler through the purchase of newly-issued shares. This transaction represents the commitment of both companies to effectively build a mutually strong, close relationship and capture growth opportunities in the important Tokyo market.
The Coca-Cola system in Japan has also focused on innovation directly with its customers, resulting in the formation of a new business model. In January, the Company and its bottling partners in Japan jointly established the Coca-Cola Customer Marketing Company (CCCMC) and have begun rolling out new customer-specific initiatives. CCCMC serves as the point of contact with major retailers, such as nationwide convenience store and supermarket chains, regarding the business relationship, sales promotions and merchandising activities.
The Company and its bottling partners, operating as local businesses in local communities across Japan, recognize the Coca-Cola system succeeds in communities that thrive.
Since 1970, the Japan Coca-Cola Bottlers Scholarship Foundation has awarded college scholarships every year to economically disadvantaged students with outstanding academic records.
In the 1970s, the Coca-Cola system in Japan led the introduction of Keep Japan Beautiful, a campaign to promote environmental protection. For over 40 years, the Coca-Cola system has been sponsoring the H.I.H. Takamado Trophy, All Japan Junior-High-School Student English Oratorical Contest.
Since then, the Coca-Cola system in Japan has taken a leadership role in environmental education. The activities include the Coca-Cola Environment Education Foundation awards program, the Coca-Cola Ecology School program and the Keep Our Town Beautiful community project.
In the latest example of the Coca-Cola system’s community commitment, the Company and its bottling partners announced earlier today the establishment of the Coca-Cola Educational and Environmental Foundation. The Foundation’s major activities include the support for education of young people in the fields of environment, education, and sports and the support and recognition of activities for the younger generation in the areas of environmental conservation and international exchange.
In support, The Coca-Cola Foundation in Atlanta contributed an additional 1 billion Yen (US$8.6 million) to help fund and expand community efforts in Japan over the next five years.
“I congratulate our bottling partners and all our associates, whose relentless dedication, world-class skills and unyielding pursuit of excellence have built the successful system we have today,” said Dan Sayre, president of the Coca-Cola Japan Company. “I look forward to continuing and accelerating this legacy of innovation, and to creating new value for our consumers, customers and all stakeholders for the next 50 years and beyond.”
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