Richard Branson reveals biggest business mistake

The Virgin boss said his Virgin Cola didn't work out

Watch Richard Branson reveal his biggest business mistake

What did you miss?

Richard Branson has revealed one of his biggest business mistakes was to do with his brand, Virgin Cola.

The businessman moved into the soft drinks market with his cola drink in 1994. He says it got off to a good start and he claimed it was even outselling Coca-Cola at some stores.

However, after a PR stunt that saw a tank crushing a pile of Coke and Pepsi cans in New York, Virgin Cola came to an end.

FRANCE - MARCH 01:  Richard Branson at Launching of Virgin Cola in Paris, France in March, 1998 - At Bagnolet Auchan supermarket.  (Photo by Thierry BOCCON-GIBOD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Richard Branson launched Virgin Cola in the 90s. (Thierry BOCCON-GIBOD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

What, how and why?

Branson opened up about it on ITV’s This Morning as host Ben Shephard asked him which of his ideas had failed, saying: "You've had so much success. I wonder if you can share some of things that didn't work?"

“Well, we took on Coca-Cola with Virgin Cola," Branson replied. “For two years we were outselling Coke in Tesco and other places. And then we made the mistake of going to Times Square in a British Sherman tank and crushing a whole load of Coke and Pepsi cans as you do.”

British tycoon Richard Branson hands out free colas in downtown Tokyo 23 April 1999 during a sales promotion for the Virgin Cola to break into the Japanese softdrink market. Japan's cola market is dominated by Coca Cola with 85 percent and Pepsico Inc. with 13 percent but Branson reckons even a few percentage points of lucrative market will pay off.  (ELECTRONIC IMAGE)   AFP PHOTO/Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP) (Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)
The tycoon's cola drink didn't work out in the end. (AFP via Getty Images)

The brand ended up being discontinued, coming to an end in 2014.

Branson has previously addressed his assault on the world of soft drinks, writing on the Virgin website: "The lesson we learned was about the need to put purpose at the heart of your business, and really differentiate.

"If you are taking on a business far larger than yours, you have to be so much better than them. But with two cans of red cola, there wasn’t that much difference in the product."

Richard Branson said he likes to try things. (ITV screengrab)
Richard Branson said he likes to try things. (ITV screengrab)

What else did Richard Branson say?

Branson also told how his motto is "S**** it, let's do it", saying he likes to try things.

"People will come with some outrageous idea... and my attitude is let's try it and if we fall flat on our face we will move on to the next thing," he said.

"And sometimes we have fallen flat on our faces, and sometimes it has worked out. But we have a hell of a lot of fun just trying and learning all the time, learning about new things."

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