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Lilt – What The Rebrand Can Teach Us About Emotional Anchoring

Lilt. What The Rebrand Can Teach Us About Emotional Anchoring

The Lilt brand evokes a nostalgia that has a strong hold on its consumers.

Lilt – What The Rebrand Can Teach Us About Emotional Anchoring

Lilt lovers are lamenting: the tropical-flavoured soft drink is no more. 

As of 14th February 2023, the drink, which has been a household name since its launch in 1975, has been quietly discontinued.

On social media, though, where nothing happens quietly, alarm at the brand’s demise soon spread. Memories and memes were shared widely as people came to the realisation that a drink that had been a fond favourite for decades would no longer be available on supermarket shelves.

However, the drink itself hasn’t actually gone anywhere. The Coca-Cola Company, which owns Lilt, has confirmed that the same recipe will now be sold under the Fanta brand instead. 

Martin Attock, vice president of commercial development at Coca-Cola, said: “Our main priority […] is to reassure Lilt’s loyal fan base that absolutely nothing has changed when it comes to the iconic taste of the drink they know and love. It’s still bursting with tangy tropical flavours. It’s just got itself a new name.”

So if all that’s changing is the name and packaging, why are people so upset?

The Emotional Connection

The Lilt outcry is a good example of how we can emotionally attach to a brand. 

People of a certain age have been sharing memories of the ‘Lilt man’ appearing in adverts or the catchy jingle of the ‘totally tropical taste’ taking them back to their childhood. The brand evokes a nostalgia that has a strong hold on its consumers. People may enjoy the taste of Lilt, but it’s the feelings that they associate with the drink which are potentially more important. 

Emotional anchoring is one of the most powerful techniques used by advertisers. By associating a feeling with a product, companies can tap into the huge influential power of our emotions over our decision-making and buying power. 

A study published in Harvard Business Review in 2015 identified nearly 300 ‘emotional motivators’ that firms could use to help grow and maintain their ideal customer base. Companies that can create strong emotional links to products or services often boast huge successes. 

Should you change the product or the package?

You may be tempted to change the contents when a product isn’t working. That’s what happened during the fabled ‘cola wars’ of the 1970s and 80s. 

During this time, Coke, threatened by the growing popularity and market share of huge rival Pepsi, decided to reformulate the taste of their cola and launched it as ‘New Coke’, later ‘Coke II’. 

It was a disaster, even cited on Coke’s own website as ‘the most memorable marketing blunder ever’. Consumers hated the new formula; people signed petitions and even formed protest groups to show the company just how much they hated the product. Within 79 days, the old formula of Coke had made a comeback. 

So how did they get it so wrong? Even though the new flavour Coke had performed well in focus groups and taste tests, Coca-Cola had underestimated people’s emotional attachment to the original flavour and brand. People even talked about the role the original flavoured Coke played in their lives!

Harness the power of emotions in your presentations

The idea of emotional anchoring can apply to your business presentations too.

If your content doesn’t seem to be landing with your audience, or if they’re disengaged, then you could be tempted to rewrite your presentation. However, there may be a simpler solution…

Instead of changing your content entirely, think about changing how people feel about the content of your presentation. Find ways to engage your audience’s emotions so that they will listen to you and be compelled to take action.

So how can you connect with your audience emotionally? 

Here are three tips: 

1 – Try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they care about? What are their values? Showing that you understand your audience’s world is essential to building trust and an emotional connection.

2 – Use emotional language to outline the benefits of your presentation: what will your content give them? Will it give people confidence, reassurance or inspiration? How will your presentation help? 

3 – Use storytelling to bring your content to life. We’ve written a lot about the benefits of storytelling in the past: giving people the information they need to hear in a captivating structure will help to win over hearts and minds. 

As for Lilt – or Fanta Pineapple and Grapefruit, as it’s now known – we’ll have to wait and see if the brand change is a success or leaves a bitter taste.

You can find out more about the courses we offer in storytelling here. Or watch/listen to our podcast with the master of storytelling, Robert McKee.


Tips from the master of storytelling, Robert McKee from Body Talk on Vimeo.