FRUITOPIA PROMO FEATURES DISCOUNTS, FREEBIES, FRUIT

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Coca-Cola Co.'s Fruitopia is about to meet rival Snapple's $40 million under-the-cap promotion with one of its own, augmented by a $20 million TV campaign.

While Snapple's promotion is a sweepstakes, featuring a Ford Mustang convertible as the grand prize, Fruitopia will offer consumers the chance to exchange bottle caps for free or discounted goods at AMC movie theaters, Blockbuster Music outlets, TGI Friday's restaurants or Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors.

CAMPAIGNS WITH FLAIR

Both brands are adding soft-drink-style slickness and flair to their new ad campaigns.

In ads breaking April 8, Fruitopia takes the focus away from its hip image and puts it back on the fruit from which its drinks are made. To highlight its flavor combinations, different fruits behave like lovers in two humorous spots from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. "Find your own Fruitopia" is the tagline.

Snapple hasn't yet unveiled its ads, created by Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York. Distributors will see them at a Manhattan studio showing tonight.

But in contrast to the homemade-style productions it used in the past, the brand this time has called on high-price directors, including Spike Lee.

FAST SALES, SLOW PROFITS

While recent growth in the "new age" category has been dizzying-slowing to a still mouth-watering 11% last year-profits have been low.

Quaker Oats Co. lost money on Snapple in 1995 after acquiring the brand in late '94; case sales plummeted 18%. Fruitopia achieved an 88% sales gain last year, largely through geographic expansion into the full U.S.

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