This fall, after a summer packed with headlines about the millions of tons of plastic water bottles flowing into city landfills, those same buyers are calling back wanting bottles -- yesterday.
In addition to brisk online sales, the number of outlets selling the bottles has grown to more than 1,300 from 400 in two years. While privately held Sigg declines to give more specific figures, it says sales are up 250% from last year. "Someone told me recently that it's so cool the product isn't everywhere," says Mr. Rheaume, 40, adding that most of the company's sales spike was built on blogs and working with outdoor enthusiasts. He started posting comments on the blogs, and now bloggers are sharing news about Sigg bottles. "They do it for us," he says.
A contest for a new design drew 30,000 votes, Mr. Wasik says, adding that the design will be for sale at Patagonia stores in time for the holidays.
California Pizza Kitchen, resurgent darling of the casual-dining industry, has been using sales of its frozen pizzas to bootstrap its branding efforts. A pact with Kraft Foods began to pay dividends in 2004 when the pizza became popular because of a clause in the contract requiring Kraft to spend 5% of sales marketing the pizza, and therefore the CPK brand. While the $100 million in 2006 sales only scored the dining chain about $4 million in licensing fees, Kraft spent $5 million in advertising, effectively tripling the pizza chain's $2.5 million ad budget. CPK frozen-pizza sales (excluding Wal-Mart) for the calendar year ended Oct. 7 were $107.7 million, up 17.3%, according to Information Resources Inc. "Now Kraft sells more pizzas than" the restaurants, says Sarah Grover, senior VP-marketing and PR, 43. "It gives people a way to get to know us if they don't have a restaurant in their town."
"The further we go down the road, the more I feel showing restraint is important to respect for your customer, not just bombarding them with everything," Mr. Adams says. "Respect their intelligence." That means not doing the things consumers expect of a national chain. More to Chipotle's liking is turning its ubiquitous cups into a platform to promote its sustainablility mission. Mr. Adams says the burrito bastion has doubled its size in the past seven years, and in the first half of this year, store sales were up 10%, with revenue up 30% to $510 million.
"This audience wants to be taken seriously, but they also want to have fun. That's what has driven our marketing," says Sonia Hounsell, 36, the brand's marketing director.
As of the week ended Sept. 9, year-to-date sales of Stride, excluding Wal-Mart, were $40.6 million, up 396% from the same period a year ago, according to Information Resources Inc. While it ranked No. 7 in the sugarless-gum segment, two gum brands coming ahead of it had double-digit percentage drops in dollar sales. Online ads, product placement and celebrities have helped push Stride's awareness. Playful event promotions touting Stride's longevity have included staring contests, while irreverent TV spots via JWT, New York, show how the gum leaves Stride factory workers idle. "Our fans like to create their own commercials now on YouTube. They feel it's their very own brand," she says.
Photo: Tony Pettinato
And as health nuts crossed dark chocolate off the embargo list, Hershey began marketing the tasty treat as an upscale indulgence, with Special Dark bite-size candies selling $9 million through early October, a 72.5% gain over the same period in 2006, according to Information Resources Inc. IRI showed the larger Hershey's Special Dark candy selling $35.1 million during the same period, up 24.2% from 2006. "We're seeing incremental growth in the dark-chocolate category as consumers become more aware of the benefits of the antioxidants ... in dark chocolate," says Jay Cooper, VP-chocolate. Dark chocolate's market penetration has more than quadrupled in the past four years, according to Hershey.
So what's a marketer to do? Change its stripes.
Miller has leaned heavily on brand ambassadors (known as "Sparkitechts"), ads in counterculture magazines and unorthodox sponsorships such as a relationship with national air-guitar champion William Ocean. The upstart brand grew sales 40% in 2006 and is reportedly on pace to sell 4 million cases this year. "We've tried hard not to Millerize it," says Randy Ransom, the 45-year-old chief marketing officer. "We've been doing mass marketing a long time, and this taught us a different way."
He made it one by starting with a guerrilla campaign in which BBDO, New York, placed giant flip-flop straps on top of colorful wall murals in Manhattan. Then came a magazine blitz from Almap BBDO, São Paulo, Brazil, and an online-animated-film effort from BBDO, New York, at feetwantout.com.
Online sales have grown 30% since May, Mr. Lagerstrom says. Style West continues to push the brand via celebrity and PR placement, scoring Havaianas spots on fashion-magazine hot lists and on Oprah's Favorite Things for summer 2007.
Doritos captured consumers' enthusiasm with the launch of its "Fight for the Flavor" campaign, in which it asked fans to vote to determine which of two new flavors -- Doritos Smokin' Cheddar BBQ or Doritos Wild White Nacho -- should survive on store shelves. Smokin' launched during the Super Bowl with two consumer-generated spots in an overall campaign run by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which backed online and package plugs. "Consumers want to be in control, and that's what Doritos allows," says Ann Mukherjee, 41, group VP-marketing at Frito-Lay.
Doritos Smokin' Cheddar BBQ won after some 200,000 consumers e-mailed or text messaged their votes. Doritos sales, excluding Wal-Mart, were $512.9 million, up 14.1% for the period ended Sept. 9, according to Information Resources Inc.
'THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK'
Mr. Ferriss set his sights on a select list of top-10 bloggers and, instead of straight pitching, tried "to identify how I can customize an angle with how-tos specifically for their audiences." That led him to a presentation at the tech-blogger-heavy SXSW conference, which he says created a "Who the hell is this guy?" curiosity that led to sales.
He still used traditional media as a catalyst to gain distribution but found it was the web that really drove sales. He says an appearance on NBC's "Today" brought him up to No. 7 on Amazon for half a day. But an interview by video blogger Robert Scoble took him to No. 3 for two full days.
Photo: The Boeing Company
If Boeing gets its way, people will be lining up to fly in its 787 Dreamliner.
While the plane, which was officially unveiled in July, has recently suffered production setbacks, its buzz still resonates: So far, it's generated 736 orders worth about $122 billion, and its website, newairplane.com (created by New York shop Sarkissian Mason), has 180,000 registered members who learn about its development through podcasts. Even the name Dreamliner won out after half a million consumers voted in a contest through AOL.
Rob Pollack, 54, VP-brand and market positioning, calls the effort a hybrid approach of web, TV and other ads that's wooing consumers and the travel and airline industries. Feedback from the website has helped Boeing with its market research, he says. "We wanted to create a true differentiated product."