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National Beverage Corp. returns to a tagline it hasn't used in 15 years with the first major TV spots for its Shasta soft drinks in nearly a decade.

"It hasta be Shasta" will reappear in a series of 10-second ads breaking in Los Angeles today. The commercials, created by AdMarketing, Los Angeles, will run 40 to 45 times a day.

"We're experimenting with this rapid-fire approach," said Nick Caporella, National Beverage chairman, president and CEO. "If it works-and I think it will-we'll expand the ads geographically."

The ads come as Shasta introduces the three-flavor St. Nick's line, for sale through New Year's in select cities across the country. St. Nick's made its debut with a page ad in the Dec. 12 USA Today, handled in-house.

Sales from the line will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif. Pending results for St. Nick's, Shasta may offer a Fourth of July flavor and an Easter drink, each associated with a charity.

"We're trying to get Shasta aligned with family values," Mr. Caporella said. "There's been a lot of talk [in the beverage industry] that soft drinks are too often associated with big name celebrities-or price-and not with good causes."

Shasta's new ad campaign represents a shift for National Beverage, which has relied on in-store marketing and heavy promotions for the value-price brand. Shasta is about 65% of the company's $350 million sales; other brands include Faygo, Body Works and Sante.

National Beverage, No. 6 behind Royal Crown Co. in the $49 billion soft drink market, has had some stock successes this year. After declaring a four-for-one split on Oct. 14, the company saw its stock jump 58% to a three-year high of $38.

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