KP has recently been busy revamping its Hula Hoops brand. The latest innovation for Hula Hoops Shoks seeks to capitalise on consumers’ growing tendency to snack on-the-go. However, if the new concept is to be a success, KP should learn from the problems its competitors encountered and introduce an element of consumer education in its marketing.

KP is trying out another format for its bagged snacks brand Hula Hoops Shoks, with 30g packs being trialled in a limited number of retail outlets until the end of the year. The new packs, retailing at 27 pence (US$0.45), are available in Screaming Salt and Vinegar and Bigtime Rib and Saucy flavours.

KP has also revamped its core Hula Hoops range with a new look, two new flavours, and £10m worth of marketing support – a rise of £1.5m on last year.

Summer 2003 figures show that the Shoks brand has grown to be worth more than £6.4m since its launch in spring 2002, when it received a £4m investment. Since then the snacks, which are aimed at 12 to 24-year-olds, have become well known for possessing innovative packaging and being a great-tasting product.

However, KP’s marketing department has significantly developed the brand, particularly over the last six months. In July, KP was forced to re-think the pack size and price of Hula Hoops Shoks due to poor sales. The response was to reduce packs from 55g to 40g and mark packs at 39 pence, down from 47 pence, in the hope that the new size and price would be more appealing to consumers.

Shoks’ new packaging holds distinct similarities to the tube-like pack shape of Walkers Shots, which were launched in April this year. Both formats let consumers ‘drink’ the snack, leaving one hand free for consumers to do other things, such as use a mobile phone. In this sense, the new format clearly supports the lifestyle requirements of contemporary consumers.

However, Walkers Shots left some consumers a little perplexed as to exactly what they were supposed to do with the trendy packs. Therefore, the promotional effort surrounding KP’s Shoks revamp should focus specifically on informing and educating the consumer, in addition to maintaining the brand’s current quirky positioning.

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