Marketing

How About a Nice Hawaiian Punch? No Thanks


People who fondly remember having a box of Hawaiian Punch in their lunch boxes might be disappointed to know that kids these days just don’t appreciate the cheap thrill of sucking up a beverage called Fruit Juicy Red that could almost pass as a virgin cocktail.

Sales of the 80-year-old brand continued to decline—by 8 percent in the first quarter and 12 percent in the second quarter. This follows three years of falling sales from 2011 to 2013. Owner Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) blames the brand for expected declines in its noncarbonated beverages category through the rest of the year.

Is there any saving Punchy? Dr Pepper Snapple Chief Executive Larry Young said on Thursday’s earnings call that Hawaiian Punch is still a huge brand, but there’s not much the company thinks can be done because the juice drink category in general is struggling. “We’ve got some peers and some competitors in there that are suffering the same way, so that’s something we don’t want to throw money after that we don’t think would turn it around,” he said.

Asked on an earnings call in April whether the company would ditch Hawaiian Punch, which seems to be “sort of dying,” Young responded: “We’re not giving up. We’ll never give up on Hawaiian Punch.” Amen. Here’s a retrospective of how the company’s tried to get us to drink the sweet cheap beverage over the decades.

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Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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