The campaign breaks this week, carrying the tagline "Put some
oomph in it." The ads are tongue in cheek --one features a baby who
appears to be flexing with the caption, "Because not everyone is
born with oomph." The push includes online partnerships with a
variety of publications, as well as digital ads and outdoor
"We're excited to introduce a little personality into this
brand," said Mr. Lange. "We've got it as a company and a culture,
so we're excited to see it come through in the advertising."
Here, Mr. Lange talks about what's changed and what hasn't
changed since Coca-Cola acquired a majority stake in the brand, as
well as the overall opportunity for coconut water.
Ad Age: What has changed since Coca-Cola
acquired a majority stake last year?
Mr. Lange: The biggest thing that's changed
since then is on Feb. 11 we went national on the red trucks. Before
we were focused on early adopter markets. Now we're national;
anywhere you see a bottle of Coke you should, or could, see a
bottle of Zico. We're really tapped into the power of their
They have been an amazing partner and investor. We're part of
the venturing and emerging-brands group. We're empowered to make
decisions through Mark [Rampolla], our founder. But they're a big
brother and a fantastic resource, so it's in our best interest to
make sure they're excited about the decisions we're making. We go
to them frequently.
Ad Age: How is your marketing evolving since
Mr. Lange: We changed agencies over to Butler,
Shine, Stern & Partners in January. The new marketing will be
completely different, not at all influenced by Coke's involvement
-- just influenced by the idea that we could and should be
different based on our national distribution.
We're more than doubling our total budget in 2013. The key for
us is we're funneling much of it into awareness-driving tactics. We
really relied on field marketing in the past, which has been really
impactful. We still want to do high touch, but we want to balance
that with more media.
Ad Age: How has Zico been performing?
Mr. Lange: We expect sales will nearly double
again this year, which, obviously, gets harder and harder the
bigger you get. A lot of that is coming from our expanded
distribution, but also from our ability to be more relevant to more
people. Even in markets where we've been for eight years, we're
still seeing fantastic growth.
Ad Age: How is the category overall doing?
Mr. Lange: In 2012, sales were double what they
were in 2011. This year they're up about 50% vs. where they were
last year. And we haven't really hit prime selling season.
We estimated last year coconut water cross half a billion in
retail sales. And it's still in less than 10% of households. You've
got a relatively small group of really heavy users; now it's about
Ad Age: How do you expand relevance?
Mr. Lange: From the start we were really
involved with hard-core athletes. This year we're branding to the
triathletes and the "try-athletes" -- those people who see the
value in making healthier choices. The tone of voice in the new
campaign talks to a broader group.
Once [coconut water] is in the pantry it replaces fruit drinks,
it's used with meals, as drink mixers, hangover recovery. It really
plays all day long. I can't think of another beverage that has that
versatility. But we can't be everything to everybody, so we'll talk
about the benefits and let the consumer decide where to insert
those benefits. ... It's a learned taste for some-not something
they love off the bat. If they tried it in a grocery store on
Wednesday, they might not love it. But if I hand it to you at the
finish line of a race and talk to you about the electrolytes, it's
more relevant to you.
~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: An earlier
version of this article stated Coca-Cola had acquired Zico. In
fact, Coca-Cola acquired a majority stake in Zico.