Campbell adds punch to growing V8 Splash

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Campbell Soup Co. next year gives consumers another reason to say, "I could've had a V8."

Building on the blockbuster success of its V8 Splash, Campbell in January will introduce a new calcium-fortified version in drink boxes. It will also add a calcium version of the flagship juice.

"People want to know what food and beverages can do for them," said Eric Leventhal, Campbell's category director-beverages. "Calcium, with very high awareness among consumers, is a natural fortification for us to use" to leverage that trend.


The increased attention to Splash comes as no surprise, considering that sales of the line extension have matched that of base brand V8 in less than three years.

"We quickly realized after a few months on the market that V8 Splash has a life of its own," Mr. Leventhal said.

Campbell is banking on calcium to continue that momentum, considering the mineral known for building strong bones has been a sales builder for many of its competitors. Sales of Coca-Cola Co.'s Minute Maid juice boxes rose 30% since adding to the product last year, according to a company executive. Ocean Spray Cranberries, too, has introduced calcium-enriched Cranberry Juice Cocktail Plus.

In a switch, Campbell initially will use mom-targeted print ads to support the calcium-enriched line. Previously, the company put its entire Splash media budget toward TV, spending $25 million in 1998 and $16.8 million on that medium in the first half.

The print, starting in spring from Y&R Advertising, New York, will carry the ongoing tagline used on TV for V8 Splash, "To health, happiness and harmony."

While the product -- flagged "a good source of calcium" on the package -- should attract moms trying to fill that missing part of kids' diet, the Berry Blend, Fruit Medley and Strawberry Kiwi flavors are intended to draw their offspring.

"Previously we didn't have a package that worked for kids on the go, so we had to figure out a product and a package that met that consumer need," Mr. Leventhal said.


Integrated marketing efforts, including advertising, in-store activities and consumer promotion will also support the juice box line.

Kraft Foods' Capri Sun is the leader in the aseptic category, with sales totaling $281 million for the year ended July 18. V8's total sales were $215 million during the period, according to Information Resources Inc.; Splash sales comprised $183 million of that.

Splash has clearly been the brand's growth driver, and perhaps as a result, Campbell is evaluating a new tagline for the flagship, having moved away from "Live life on all eight cylinders."

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