Short-Term Innovation: Red Bull Soccer, Sprite’s Seasonal

Call it a nod to niche: a couple of high-profile beverage brands recently launched limited edition line extensions.

Earlier this week, a BevNET reader sent us a photo of what appeared to be a new Red Bull product called “Bull” and labeled as “A Product from Red Bull.” Packaged in Red Bull’s famous slim, silver-colored 8.4 oz. can, the beverage featured the word Bull written vertically on the can with bull horns on the each side of the last “l,” along with vapor coming out from both ends of the letter “B”; the resulting image vaguely resembles a bull’s face.

The back of the can is labeled “BULL Energy Drink – Exclusively Produced for Red Bull New York” and features the crest of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls. The package also includes a Nutrition Facts label. The reader noted that the product is full-calorie and has “a bitter, orange-flavored” taste.

BevNET reached out to Red Bull North America, which confirmed that the company has released Bull, but as a short-term product.

According to Red Bull, “Bull Energy Drink is a limited edition product from Red Bull” and “it combines the functionality of Red Bull Energy Drink with a sweet orange flavor and a whimsical packaging design.” The company said that the new products is available in special venues including The New York Red Bulls arena, the Brazil Red Bull soccer club, the RB Leipzig arena and the arena of Red Bull Salzburg, Hangar 7, the Afro Cafe and the Carpe Diem Restaurant in Salzburg.

The release of Bull is noteworthy considering the veritable spate of innovation coming from Red Bull, which until last year’s launch of Red Bull Total Zero and the U.S. debut of the “Red Bull Edition” line-up of new flavors, had not introduced a new product or line extension since its (now discontinued) energy shot in 2009.

Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola Co. has announced the first new flavor for its Sprite brand in eight years. Coke today unveiled Sprite Cranberry and Sprite Zero Cranberry, each of which will be “available for a limited time through the holidays,” according to a statement from the company. The new products are the first line extensions for Sprite since Sprite Remix, which debuted in 2005.

“We’re incorporating one of the most popular flavors of the season with the No. 1 lemon-lime brand to celebrate the holidays,” Kim Paige, Associate Vice President, Sprite Brands, The Coca-Cola Company said in the statement. “Over the years, our fans have increasingly demanded Sprite with cranberry flavor, and we’re excited to give it to them with the crisp, clear, caffeine-free, naturally flavored taste they already love about Sprite.”

Sprite Cranberry and Sprite Zero Cranberry will be packaged in 2 L bottles, fridge packs of 12 oz. cans, and 20 oz. bottles (Sprite Cranberry only), and launch in mid-October. The drinks will be available through the New Year.