John and Matthew are descendents (son and grandson respectively), of John Noel Nichols creator of the UK’s & GCC’s most beloved cordial, VIMTO. The dinner reception took place on December 3, 2008 in celebration of Vimto Cordial’s Centennial in the presence of the management of Aujan Industries and key partners.
Vimto’s unique taste was first discovered by John Noel Nichols in England in 1908. As Vimto’s popularity grew, the Nichols’ began developing an export market overseas. 80 years ago Vimto was introduced to the Saudi family-business, Abdullah Aujan & Brothers. The functional relationship between the Aujan’s and the Nichols’ commenced when Sheikh Abdallah Aujan Sr. started working directly with John Noel Nichols and began importing and distributing large quantities of Vimto in the Middle East. Year by year, the relationship between the two family-businesses grew, as did the popularity of Vimto Cordial.
Soon, Sheikh Adel and John Nichols were introduced to each other by their fathers. Following in their fathers’ footsteps both Sheikh Adel & John went on to manage their respective companies’ to make Vimto Cordial the multinational success story it is today.
The 100th Anniversary marked the meeting of the third generation of heirs who will take Vimto forward. Abdulla Aujan Jr. and Matthew Nichols bonded not only through their Vimto connection, but also being in the same age bracket, they have easier access and better understanding of each others cultures through the vast effects of globalization, and that in itself will guide their mission of preserving the Vimto legacy for the generations to come.
Sheikh Adel Aujan – named KSA’s Businessman of Year in 2007 – reflected on how in the 1920’s the main focus of products was not placed on the heavy branding seen today. Quality and taste were above all requirements and the people of the region recognized that with Vimto Cordial at a very early stage. Soon, Vimto Cordial was identified as the drink that would expedite the rush of energy whilst retaining a delicious and refreshing taste.
All these qualities were a perfect combination creating a drink that soothes the body after a day of humble fasting during Ramadan – this further entrenched Vimto’s synonymy with the Holy month. Vimto’s presence over three generations instills nostalgia with the Baby Boomers and the Generation X population who have seen this beverage being passed on from their elders. However, with over half of the Middle East’s population belonging to generation Y & Z, its history and traditions do not mask the fact that Vimto is still an innovative and modern brand.
When asked about the secret of Vimto’s 100 years of success, John Nichols explained:
“The uniqueness of the flavor that has never changed is the only thing that really preserves the product.”
Sheikh Adel Aujan continued, “As John was saying, the flavor has remained constant. Over the years we must have tasted over 100 imitations, but none of them have gotten the consumer’s acceptance as Vimto has. Vimto has remained consistent over all these years.”
Remarking on how his father would react to Vimto’s continued success today; John said, “I think he’d be really proud that Vimto is still cherished today as it was in his time. I think he will also be surprised that even after 100 years, it’s still mainly owned by the family. We see ourselves as the custodians of this brand and that’s another reason why it is important for us to keep it within the family.”
Soon the attention was averted from the fathers and placed on the sons, Abdallah Jr. and Matthew. The “heirs of the legacy” were asked about how they see the business in the Middle East today and if they foresee any challenges that may be encountered while taking Vimto to the future generations.
“As a company, building long-term relationships is very important for us and it’s great that we’ve been partners with Aujan group for so long and I do see that continuing for the long-term. There will certainly be some challenges along the way, but also some developments, new products, and hopefully some new territories. We do hope to continue the fruitful relationship,” Matthew responded.
Abdulla Jr. continued, “There isn’t much more to add to what Matthew said. Due to the transparency between our two companies in terms of business and our private lives, the relationship has a very strong foundation. This has paved the way for the future in terms of continuing this relationship and seeing it prosper year to year and hopefully for another 100 years to come.”
The fathers and sons, who share a mutual vision on Vimto for the next 100 years, foresee a tremendous potential for more people to be introduced to Vimto.
John Nichols also said:
“It’s vital that not only do we move the product through the generations in the business, but also through the generations in terms of consumers and create some new, young consumers for the brand.”
Tuesday, December 16- 2008 @ 9:53 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.