The La Casera Company (TLCC), previously known as Classic Beverages Limited, is one of the leading beverage brands in Nigeria and the pioneer of polyethene terephthalate (PET) bottled Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSD) in Nigeria.
The brand’s success from its inception ranks it beside popular beverage brands like Pepsi, Coca-cola, and Coke. However, this was short-lived as the brand faced some fake news that led to a drop in its market shares and consumers.
The La Casera bleaching incident
Till today, the incident remains in the mind of carbonated drink consumers despite debunking the news as fake. It started with a falsified video that went viral. The video misinformed carbonated drink consumers, especially La Casera consumers, about the product’s chemical composition.
The video alleged that the La Casera Original Apple Drink contains corrosive chemicals that can unscrew nuts, wash mechanical engines, and bleach materials. This invariably means it is dangerous for consumption.
Though the video brought the brand to the limelight, it had a negative impact on the brand image despite the damage control strategies employed by the management.
The counterproductive marketing strategy
To reduce the effect on the brand, the company applied the wrong damage control strategy. Instead of addressing the big question of ‘Is it dangerous for human consumption?’, the brand unveiled a new La Casera Apple Drink.
Indirectly, they accepted the allegation and sent the wrong message to the consumers. The failure of the method served as an eye opener to what was at stake for the brand.
Making the right decision
The brand had a wake-up call when they received negative feedback about the unveiling of the new La Casera Apple Drink and people’s reaction to the fake video that went viral.
The company, therefore, collaborated with reporters and consumer advocates. Together, they took a tour around the facility of The La Casera Company. They discovered that the company adhered to the standard hygienic level expected of a beverage company.
The gas content in La Casera, which is 6.8g/L, is lower than the average value o 7.0g/L expected of a carbonated drink. This makes it healthy and safe for consumption.
Mr. Odeku Emmanuel, the then Quality Assurance Manager, said, “Our integrity stands. We give customers the best quality, and that’s why we have continued to grow strong all these years.” Despite this, the incident left a scar on the brand’s history.
Taking a step further: Artisan endorsement
To further win the trust of its consumers and get back its market share, La Casera took it a notch up. They employed the services of motor mechanics and other technicians to give a practical demonstration of the video that went viral. With the help of the artisans, the company was able to prove that the video was, in fact, fake.
This made the brand more involved in technology and innovation and promoted the country’s artisans and technicians. One of such programmes is the La Casera empowerment scheme.
Mr Chinedum Okereke, Managing Director of The La Casera Company, during the Nigerian Artisans and Technicians Association of Nigeria (NATAN) conference, said, “Self-development in this modern age requires adopting innovation as a key prerequisite for success.”
Though the La Casera Company could not attain its previous glory, it devised a new strategy to save its brand and generate new revenue. The brand launched Nigeria’s first bottled Chapman drink, Smoov and, another equally thriving beverage, Bold.