Cult Cola Maker Jones Soda Names First Agency

Cole & Weber Picks Up $10 Million Ad Account for National Push

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Jones Soda Co., the cult brand built on word of mouth and consumer-generated content, has hired Cole & Weber United, Seattle, as its first advertising agency.
In addition to a national ad campaign, viral marketing will remain part of the mix.
In addition to a national ad campaign, viral marketing will remain part of the mix.

The company plans to launch a national campaign to bring to its premium brand to the masses. Jones Soda Co. President Peter van Stolk in a news release said he plans to use the campaign to push the company's 12-ounce cans that are distributed nationwide in stores from the corner grocery to big-box retailers such as Target.

Offbeat distribution
Jones got its start through offbeat distribution such as surfboard shops and tattoo parlors and has since kept a lively website where consumers post quotes, photos and chat. Some of the buzz was seeded virally on community websites.

"Part of the brand DNA is that it is owned by the people," said Mike Doherty, president, Cole & Weber. He said the company's viral marketing is expected to continue. "The challenge is to produce work that doesn't feel like Coke or Pepsi."

Ad spending is estimated at $10 million.

Jones Soda, publicly traded and based in Seattle, uses pure cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup in its manufacturing process. Other products in its lineup include Jones Pure Cane Soda, Jones Energy, Jones Organics, Jones Naturals, Jones 24C and Whoopass brands.

Cole & Weber, part of WPP's Voluntarily United Group of Creative Agencies, has a number of beverage marketers among its clients. They include Colt 45, Carlo Rossi, Livingston Cellars and Tree Top juices.