Case Detail

Case Summary

Coca-Cola Amatil: A Bottler Recharging Growth With Energy Drinks

Case Number: 5-408-755, Year Published: 2009

HBS Number: KEL449

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Key Concepts

Innovation, Marketing Channels, Distribution, International, Routes-to-Market, Growth


How does a mature business develop new growth markets, assuming it already has new products? That was the challenge facing The Coca-Cola Company and its global system of bottlers in the 2000s when demand for its core line of carbonated soft drinks flattened. The Australian bottler, Amatil, pinned its hopes on energy drinks, a fast-growth, youth-oriented category that was capturing headlines and share away from traditional products. To wrest control from the upstart brands that originated them, Amatil was targeting the retail context where young people congregated and formed their preferences—in pubs, nightclubs, healthclubs, and sporting events. This international case explores the challenges encountered when a mature company with considerable distribution assets, well-honed systems, and entrenched operating procedures attempts to sell into an underserved retail channel with requirements quite unlike those of the company’s mainstream buyers. How does it attract market interest? How does it develop new routes-to-market without undercutting the cost efficiencies and delivery value that have earned it dominant position elsewhere? How does it win over what could be its core customers of the future without alienating today’s faithful? These are just some of the questions that Amatil management was determined to solve.

Learning Objectives

Understand issues related to retail channel strategy development in fast-changing international consumer markets, as well as the challenges of adapting legacy routes-to-market systems to changing consumer demands.

Number of Pages: 15

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Marketing, Strategy

Geographic: Global

Industry: Consumer Beverage Distribution

Organization Name: Coca-Cola Amatil

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: General Manager

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2009