Snapple appeals to Gen Y to boost sales

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How do you make an iconic fruit juice and tea brand that gained cult status in the 1980s and 1990s relevant to fickle Gen Y?

That's the challenge facing Snapple, which saw revenue fall 4% in 2003 despite a boom in noncarbonated beverages.

Maura Mottolese, VP-marketing for Snapple, said the quirky 2-year-old personified-bottle campaign has done a good job with its core 25-to 44-year-old consumers. "Now we're trying to increase our relevance with 18-to-24-year-olds, because the younger consumer isn't familiar with the rise of Snapple 10 years ago when it created the alternative-beverage category," said Ms. Mottolese. "Younger beverage consumers tend to be flavor explorers, so they're not as loyal as older consumers," even though on "a per-capita consumption basis, they do consume more than any other age group."

Armed with a 20% bigger marketing budget (Snapple spent $9.3 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR) and a mission to wrangle college-age consumers who drink more beverages than any other group, the Cadbury Beverages America unit is putting its ad program on steroids. The marketer is adding radio and text-messaging components to its ramped-up creative to heighten entertainment value, and inking with an innovative cross-promotional deal with Viacom.

On May 10, Snapple breaks an updated version of its "personified bottles" campaign via Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York that puts actual Snapple employees in cameo roles. It also extends story lines from vignettes to fully developed "epics" built around specific flavors, a shift to pack more interest in each new flavor.

"This is taking the idea of 18-to 24-year-olds who love going to the movies and doing it in our Snapple way," added David Rosen, Deutsch senior VP-executive creative director-writer.


Four 30-second spots and two 15-second spots support the effort, including one for a 12-week summer sweepstakes called Snaffle. To make sure consumers knew where and when they can learn winning bottle-cap numbers, Viacom's MTV shot a promotional "doughnut" spot with the middle open for a live drawing each Wednesday night. The marketer also partnered with ViacomPlus to set up a media "roadblock" across a variety of Viacom networks including MTV, BET, Comedy Central and CMT, where the spot would be aired within the 15-minute space after the peak 10 p.m. viewing time.

"We're fighting a lot of big-spending people ... and this way we create value that couldn't be had otherwise," said Peter Gardiner, partner-chief media officer of Deutsch. "It gives the old-fashioned reach of big network TV but in an environment of fragmented audiences."

Consumers can track their caps online, where they can also opt in to receive winning numbers via text messaging. Snapple doubled its radio budget to back a tongue-in-cheek "reality radio" campaign that tracks Snapple employees (not real ones here) as they work in marketing or in the flavor lab.

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