MARKETING SUPERSTARS;RADICAL FRUIT CO.-N.Y.;CARMEN ABRIL

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MADRID-A strong product and strong ads are fueling sales of Pepsi-Cola International's Radical Fruit Co.-N.Y. soft drinks. So says Carmen Abril, who oversees the marketing.

Launched in Spain as a test market for international sales, the three noncarbonated fruit flavors have claimed a 3% share of the flavored non-cola soft-drink market since March, growth Ms. Abril, 32, calls "rather spectacular," and an international success comparable to that of Pepsi Max.

The Radical Fruit Co.-N.Y. brand is PepsiCo's entry into the so-called New Age category. Conceived from the beginning as a global brand, the name is intended as an umbrella for possible future flavors or products.

Radical Fruit's closest competitor is Coca-Cola Co.'s Fruitopia, launched in the U.S. last year and in Spain a month after the Pepsi entry. Here, Radical Fruit is outselling Fruitopia 3 to 1, Ms. Abril said.

"It's a new benefit-that a soft drink can be natural and good for you," she said. The drink has the market's highest fruit-juice content (19% to 25%, depending on the flavor), no carbonation and a youthful and healthy image in its packaging and advertising.

The ads "broke the rules of communication" for soft drinks, winning Spain's San Sebastian Advertising Festival's top advertising prize as well as connecting with the teen target, Ms. Abril said.

Told to break the mold, Tiempo/ BBDO mixed animation with real-action filming and played off a slasher movie idea-with fruits being stalked and juiced to death. Elements used-humor, comics, music and irony-appeal to the product's desired 15-to-25-year-old target, she said.

Company studies show 85% of consumers remember the ads. The ads also got people to try the drinks at double the rate of Fruitopia's trial, Ms. Abril said. And after trying it, more than 70% buy it again, she said.

Besides TV and outdoor-Ms. Abril rejected print for the teen target-PepsiCo used a strong program of events and public relations. In free samplings at universities, PepsiCo attracted long lines of students with an unusual event: a giant cushion to bounce off and fling themselves onto a vertical Velcro surface.

While successful here, the Spanish flavors and advertising could be changed for other markets. In October the drink launched in France, its second country.

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