They're the hardest group to categorize - and one of the trickiest to capture.
Heck, no one can even decide what to call the group of consumers - 40 million strong - between the ages of 18 and 34. Generation X is awfully nondescript; baby busters says more about what they aren't than what they are."It is the single most confusing group ever," says Jesse Myers, publisher of the industry newsletter Beverage Digest. "As soon as a marketeer decides exactly what that generation wants, by definition, it drops it."
But the amorphous and fickle group is who Coca-Cola is targeting with its new line of juice-based drinks, Fruitopia.
The company has committed $30 million this year to market Fruitopia, the first new project to bear the unmistakable stamp of its aggressive new marketing chief, Sergio Zyman. But Zyman and his marketing troops will have their work cut out for them, experts say.
Still, with cola's market share continuing to slide and hundreds of new beverages vying to grab a piece of the $55 billion soft drink market, it's an important risk for the company to take, they say.
So far, the company says sales are outpacing expectations. If that pace continues, the payoff will be nothing to sneeze at - albeit small compared with Coca-Cola's still gargantuan cola sales worldwide.
Mark Bair, who's steering Fruitopia's marketing efforts at Coca-Cola Foods, says the target group's wide-ranging identity is a big why the various Fruitopia marketing ploys all have a slightly different feel to them. He calls it a "unique '90s feel."
Its TV ads evoke a tongue-in-cheek new age mysticism. Kaleidoscopic images of fruit and Fruitopia bottles mutate across the screen while mystical music plays and Fruitopia "truisms" flash across the screen. "The apples don't fight the pineapples in Fruit Integration. People could learn a lot from fruit," says one.
Meanwhile, the Fruitopia buses that are now fanning out across the country, dispensing sample bottles and strange entertainment, are pure '60s.