By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

May 29, 2019 | 6 min read

As Lucozade Sport launches its World Cup campaign with the England Lionesses team, The Drum caught up with head of marketing Claire Keaveny on how the sports drink is capitalising on its public sports program, tapping into culturally relevant moments and making its brand more sustainable.

As the “official sports drinks and hydration partner” of England’s women’s and men’s senior team, the brand's sees the upcoming World Cup as among the biggest tests of its commitment to fitness.

“Our objective is to encourage more women to get into football,” Keaveny said on the ambitious partnership with the Lionesses. “We want to make sure we’re putting our money where our mouth is and offering people who want to get into the game the right facilities to do that.”

Lucozade Sport has offered 90,000 minutes of free pitch time nationwide through Powerleague and Goals football centres in a bid to give more women the courage to get into the sport.

However, Keaveny says one of the more complex challenges the brand faces is how to make its marketing more effective.

“We’re living in an attention-deficit generation and people are switching off adverts,” she explained.

"We have to create campaigns that are culturally relevant and mean something to people so that they want to talk about it.

“Hence the Lionesses campaign, tapping into a real cultural moment but in a way that resonates with consumers,” Keaveny said of the World Cup execution.

World Cup bottles

To get the nation behind England’s Women’s team, Lucozade Sport rewrote the unofficial anthem of the World Cup ‘Three Lions’ as a powerful soliloquy that expresses the trials and tribulations of overcoming prejudices against women in sport.

The original version by Baddiel and Skinner has become synonymous with the male tournament; an iconic banger, chanted religiously at every World Cup since it was recorded in 1996.

The song nostalgically celebrates England’s 1966 World Cup win and documents the low expectations the nation has become to anticipate, due to a succession of underachievement in the major tournament ever since.

Created by Grey London, ‘The Three Lionesses’ is a rework of the original lyrics, that swaps the low expectations for sexist attitudes about women’s football in general.

The new version rewriter the lines “That England’s going to throw it away, gonna blow it away” as “that we don’t have the skill in their eyes. Well, we’re tired of the lies.”

Inspiring people to move

The World Cup campaign is the latest phase in a three year commitment from the drinks giant to improving the nation's fitness.

In 2016, Lucozade Sport underwent a brand realignment courtesy of Grey London that saw it shift from pure product marketing to launch the ‘Made to Move’ campaign that aimed to get one million people in the UK moving more by 2020.

Over the four years since it launched, Lucozade Sport has released its first long-form film ‘The next move’ starring brand ambassador Anthony Joshua about the power of coaching, surprised stagnant commuters with impromptu live stream fitness sessions at a bus shelters and in 2018 its brand owner, Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) collaborated with Active Communities Network on an initiative called ‘B active.’

In 2017 it launched a health app to help increase engagement with its consumers. Mirroring the popular Fitbit model, the new app works on a step-based system where users are automatically entered into a daily draw for every 5,000 steps taken.

Between May 2017 and December 2018, its ‘Made To Move’ app was downloaded 141,970 times and reached 20th on App Store’s health and fitness chart.

And it appears it’s health and fitness brand realignment paid off when it comes to revenue. According to Keaveny “the brand is in a good place and has grown 18% year-on-year.”

But beyond that, one year ahead of schedule, the drinks brand has smashed its target: “We’ve got 1.5 million people moving since we made the commitment back in 2016,” Keaveny claimed.


Having hit its fitness targets, Keaveny said the brand has also taken on the task of improving its own sustainability and how it can solve the problem of plastic waste at stadium events.

Last year, it teamed up with materials engineering start-up Skipping Rocks lab to trial the Ooho product at selected running events beginning in September 2018.

Made entirely from seaweed extract the Ooho’s are edible and compostable, naturally biodegrading in four to six weeks.

It is now carrying out research to better understand the long-term opportunity for plastic alternatives at mass-participation sporting events.

Yet, within the factory walls of LRS, the brand's parent company, a billion bottles are made every year.

Such high levels of production leads to high levels of plastic waste, that edible drink capsules made of seaweed can’t prevent.

Last month, Keaveny said that LRS made a “multi-million-pound investment to try and help the recyclability of the packaging” appointing design agency Seymour Powell to lead the redesign of its packaging.

In a bid to become a leader in sustainability, the redesign aims to improve recycling so its packaging is fully recyclable with the UK recycling system.

Lucozade Marketing

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