On Shelf
On Shelf

#OnShelf: From home-grown brand launches to purpose branding

by Louise Burgers. A home-grown seltzer launch; sustainable, hygienic packaging solutions; and LUX/Unilever launch #IstandWithCaster.

by Louise Burgers. The acceleration of branding and innovation in the past year is astounding. The courage of brands to start taking a stand on critical issues of global importance, like #BlackLivesMatter and climate change is an important shift in the moral landscape of branding. This month Unilever and LUX launched a campaign in support of Caster Semenya, #IstandWithCaster. The pandemic has also led to innovation in many industries, including the supply chain, with Chep launching a packaging solution that allows for innovative branding and seamless shelf integration, thereby also minimising touchpoints for hygiene purposes. And of course, to stimulate our economy, we must support and buy local at every turn, celebrating local home-grown brand launches, such as Freely, a new low-alcohol seltzer. 

Home-grown, sugar-free, low-alcohol seltzer launches

Freely is a new zero sugar, low alcohol hard seltzer, launched in step with the growing global trend towards alternative refreshment for a lighter, more balanced lifestyle. Crafted by Natures Own Beverages, an independent local producer, Freely is a proudly South African sparkling water with a splash of premium distilled vodka and pure fruit taste “tailormade for millennials set on living their best lives”. Rapidly changing peoples’ drinking habits after exploding onto the American market, hard seltzers (American for soda water) are low calorie blends of sparkling water, alcohol and natural fruit flavours. The global buzz around hard seltzers is fuelled by consumer preferences for lower alcohol beverages during the pandemic. In the USA hard seltzers are making inroads into the beer and cider market as a low carb alternative. On the global front, the hard seltzer market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 16,5% over the next six years. Freely promotes its USP as its lower alcohol content (3%); lower calories (23 kilocalories per 100ml); zero sugar; and taste. As a spirit-based drink, Freely is also gluten free and vegan friendly. It is available in three flavours: lime, peach and wild berry; and exclusively at Checkers LiquorShop countrywide during the launch phase, Freely has an RSP of R79.99 for a pack of four X 275ml glass bottles.

LUX campaigns in support of Caster

LUX has voiced its support for renowned South African Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya. This comes off the back of her fight against the World Athletics board (IAAF) to allow her to compete in the 800m race in the upcoming 2021 Olympics. In the animated video released in support of Caster, Lux highlights these issues and believes no woman should be, “stripped of being a woman” or “judged for how they look”. It ends with the words, “LUX stands with Caster. LUX stands for all women”. LUX has decided to support and campaign for Caster, lending its brand voice through paid advertising on social channels and other media to garner more support for her and help overturn the IAAF ruling. Commented Semenya: “It makes me very happy to see brands like LUX who fearlessly stand on the side of what is right. My case is but one amongst many experiences that can be heard and felt by women all over the world. My team will continue to fight the good fight. Like I have always said, this fight is not about me – it’s about the future. Those talented up and coming athletes who are going to face the same discrimination. I have to make sure that I can honestly say, I did my bit. We all need to continue doing what’s right in fighting for justice. And with the campaign my team has been working on, I am certain we will bring light to such issues beyond my case. I encourage everyone to unapologetically claim who they are and never waiver, no matter what society says. Thank you to my fellow South African’s who have stood by me through this journey. I will not cower.” Semenya and her team are working on a campaign to garner support in her fight against this judgment, which will be announced soon. Earlier in March, Unilever launched a new Positive Beauty vision and strategy globally which aims to champion a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive. Watch the teaser video to the #IStandWithCaster campaign here.

Retail-ready packaging reduces touchpoints

Innovative retail platforms recently launched in stores have emerged as a hygienic sales solution during the safety-conscious pandemic era, while also sustainably providing choice and convenience for South African shoppers. Retail-ready packaging (RRP) is a supply-chain innovation that allows products to be moved from factory floor to the store floor on a single pallet that has been thoughtfully designed to be delivered either directly within a shelf, in an aisle, or as a freestanding unit, thereby providing enhanced hygiene for staff and shoppers alike. The packaging reduces the number of product touchpoints at warehouses, distribution centres and in stores. CHEP, the supply chain solutions company, provides two RRP solutions, a 900×600 wooden platform and a 600×400 plastic platform. Both allow for innovative branding and seamless shelf integration. A client sourced, protective cardboard wrapping doubles up as a branding and marketing opportunity in the store. Once the unit is in place, a shop assistant simply tears away the perforated section of the unit to display the products. The solution includes shelf-ready display units for certain stock-keeping units (SKU’s) to make the refill of shelves easy, safe and quick. The new units minimise replenishment time and merchandising activities for optimal safety. Stock can arrive pre-filled on a CHEP retail pallet. This makes it easy to handle by store staff, or to roll into position using a pallet trolley, with little need for manual work, staff handovers or touching of surfaces. RRP also allows the shopkeeper to move product and displays to different high traffic zones through the day, without having to unpack shelves.


Main image credit: Freely.


Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of RetailingAfrica.com. She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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