By Published on .

Sobe is not just a new beverage for the dawning of the new millennium. It's an extension of the personality of South Beach Beverage Co.'s marketing VP, Billy Bishop.

The 28-year-old hops nimbly between participating in a SoBe-sponsored Cannondale mountain bike event one day, a marketing meeting the next and to Cincinnati after that to oversee the bottling of the company's juice drinks and teas, which include such trendy herbal supplements as echinacea, ginseng, ginkgo biloba and bee pollen, and names like Wisdom, Zen Blend, Lizard Blizzard, Lean and Eros (which comes with its own tagline, "Who needs Viagra?").

The 20-ounce glass bottles emblazoned with Asian-mystical lizards add a touch of mystery to a retail scene already awash in alternative beverages such as Arizona, Snapple and Mistic.

Mr. Bishop is the architect of the brand's $5 million, non-traditional marketing program. The effort is designed to maximize consumer involvement via (; the toll-free Lizard Line; a Lizard Gear catalog; and an ongoing stream of events and retail sampling stops that feature the Lizard Love Bus and other funky vehicles.

Sales are projected to reach $200 million in 1999, only three years after South Beach retooled what was a basic juice line to include herbal elements and repackage itself in a hip, edgy bottle.

"I think it's really the package, which draws people in and gets them to pick up the bottle, and then we follow through with a great product in the bottle that's anything but sugar water in a bottle," says Mr. Bishop. "It's all about a lifestyle."

The Lizard lifestyle is promoted through radio ads, which tap into SoBe's Web site hits and consumer calls as the basis of its campaign that has the Lizard King commenting on experiences that SoBe users have had with the product. Sierra Communications, Wilton, Conn., is SoBe's agency, which is run by Mr. Bishop's dad, adman and SoBe co-founder Bill Bishop.

"The whole idea with SoBe is to have fun," says the younger Mr. Bishop. "Everything about SoBe is a fun experience, from the drink to the promotions. We

In this article:
Most Popular