Matika changes history

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Web site for Matika (www.matikafusions.com), the Pepsi-Lipton Tea partnership's new juice/tea, offers a glimpse at how the beverage could be marketed during what the company hopes will be a national rollout within the year.

The product made its debut in an Arizona test market last week (AA, Aug. 13). The tongue-in-cheek site, which launched Aug. 15, underscores its clear youth-market skew, creating a mock heritage for the brand. The site uses enough broadband-friendly content, including film clips, to indicate how strongly the partnership of PepsiCo and Unilever may be going after the college market; the marketer plans wild postings on campuses, along with print and radio, to support the launch.

All advertising for the brand, including digital, is being handled by WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co., New York, which handles interactive through its digital@jwt unit.

Executives at JWT, which also handles online media for the joint venture's Lipton Brisk, referred calls to PepsiCo. PepsiCo officials couldn't be reached at deadline.

Matika is the latest in the crowded field of alternative noncarbonated beverages. Produced in five flavors with whimsical names such as Skyhigh Berry, Matika will compete against products ranging from Coca-Cola Co.'s Fruitopia and Cadbury Schweppes' Snapple to sibling beverage line SoBe, which PepsiCo bought late last year.

The site creates a "Matika season" timeline, going back to 3000 B.C., depicting events such as the building of Stonehenge, the first Olympic Games and Woodstock. It goes on to "discuss" how Matika played a role in each of those historical happenings. Visitors can play black-and-white Flash videos of each.

The Stonehenge clip, for instance, says the Druid monument was built by a group of Matika-crazed people. The Woodstock clip, meanwhile, shows how marketers may be pushing the envelope online to reach their target markets in ways they may not be comfortable with on TV. Not only does the intro to the film clip comment, "Man, those kids up in Woodstock, New York, were really onto something. Or maybe just on something," but the clip itself shows a tattoo of the mythical prehistoric Matika bird on a festival attendee's buttocks. The bird logo is prominently featured throughout the site, usually in less-risque surroundings.

As for where all this will get Matika it's obvious the site wants to get e-mail addresses in its hands, and product into targets' hands. The site offers Pepsi-Lipton the ability to build a database-currently a hot commodity among the package-goods set-via a quiz about the mock historic signposts on the site. Those who get all of the questions right, and answer what best describes their age range and how they heard about the product, will be sent either a product sample or, in the laid-back parlance used throughout the site, "Some of you we'll send a whole damn case."

Contributing: Hillary Chura

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