RC pins hopes on WWF tie-in to boost Edge

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Triarc Cos. will use a World Wrestling Federation tie-in to market its RC Edge cola and edge its way into Gen Y's stomachs and wallets.

This week, Triarc's Royal Crown Cola Co. will break a multimillion-dollar campaign for the teen-targeted RC Edge. The TV spot, from the Blum Group, New York, spoofs the movie "Karate Kid," while highlighting the cola's unique ingredients, such as ginseng, an herb that's said to increase energy. The spot ends with the tag: "Not just cola, power cola."

The TV spot doesn't have a wrestling theme, but it will break on the March 30 "WWF Smackdown!" broadcast on UPN. The effort includes print, point-of-purchase displays and Internet components.

Other elements of the company's WWF sponsorship include an on-pack offer of a poster of well-known WWF wrestlers the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chyna and Edge. POP displays include life-size cutouts of the first two, along with the Undertaker.


RC Edge will promote its affiliation with the WWF on its Web site (rcedge.com). The site, which will relaunch April 1 after being redesigned by SF Interactive, San Francisco, will include a link to WWF.com. RC Edge's promotion will also lead into the WWF's September pay-per-view wrestling spectacular, "Unforgiven."

Royal Crown Senior VP-Marketing Jeff Spencer said the company's deal includes product placement on WWF programs -- such as having a wrestler throw an RC Edge cooler or crush an RC Edge can -- as well as sponsorship of features.

He said the WWF was the perfect format to reach RC Edge's target consumers: 12-to-20-year-old males. Company executives polled more than 300 teen-age boys nationwide before inking the sponsorship, with overwhelmingly positive feedback, Mr. Spencer said.


RC Edge has helped revive Royal Crown's flagging sales and establish a beachhead for the brand in the highly lucrative teen market. It was the first new product for the company in four years.

The marketing effort behind the launch included radio, sampling and print. The WWF deal is the brand's first to first fully integrate TV spots and sponsorships, he added.

Royal Crown introduced RC Edge last year to spring break revelers in South Padre Island, Texas, and 45 other markets. Mr. Spencer said RC Edge's competition is not only other colas, but citrus-based soft drinks such as Coca-Cola Co.'s Surge and Pepsi-Cola Co.'s Mountain Dew.

For the 52 weeks ended Feb. 19, RC Edge sales accounted for 1.4% of total Royal Crown volume, according to Beverage Digest.

The supercaffeinated cola opens doors to new channels of distribution, said Paul Trudeau, senior VP-sales for the Royal Crown division. "RC Edge has been introduced into a few convenience stores where brand RC [products have] not been able to break through," Mr. Trudeau said.

The soft drink was launched using only 20-ounce bottles, unlike most introductions that offer multiple sizes. The strategy allowed the company to roll out nationally and is profitable for distributors, he said.

The WWF alliance expands that good will and gives this small brand a big brand image, Mr. Trudeau said. "Our profile fits the profile of WWF. It has merchandising and pull power."

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