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Story of a Promotional Stunt Gone Awry

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NEW YORK ( -- The big question about Snapple's messy effort to create the world's largest ice pop in New York's Union Square yesterday is whether it was ultimately a success or failure.
Snapple was trying to build a 24-foot-high ice pop that collapsed before it was finished.

20 tons
The primary goal of breaking the existing Guinness World Record for such a feat was clearly missed when parts of the unfinished 20-ton structure turned into an avalanche of slush in the day's 80-degree temperatures.

On the other hand, the monumental mess of sticky kiwi strawberry oozing across sidewalks and street surfaces in one of the city's most heavily traveled neighborhoods was not without its buzz-generating benefits.

"Overall I think it was a great success," said Heather Kovins, a spokeswoman for Deutsch, the Interpublic Group of Cos.' ad agency that helped engineer the stunt. “We gave out a lot of samples and reached a lot of people."

Melting pink goop
The project started with great fanfare at 10 a.m. but by early afternoon had deteriorated into a slew of discarded Snapple on Ice sticks and a lone workman with a hose spraying several remaining areas of melting ice remnants.

Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages’ Snapple brand and CoolBrands International, a leading ice-cream distributor, had attempted their record-breaking ice build as part of a campaign to launch the new Snapple on Ice pops product. The plan called for the erection of a two-and-a-half-story-high ice structure.

'It went awry'
“It went awry; we had some spillage,” admitted a company spokeswoman, Lauren Radcliffe. “But we still had fun. You’ve got to take some risks.”

Ms. Radcliffe said she and the Snapple promotions crew were still pleased with the overall event. Snapple gave away free Snapple on Ice pops and Snapple beverages to 45,000 of the event’s visitors from the time the ice pop began taking shape at 10 a.m. until mid-afternoon.

“We’ve always been involved in traditional outdoor event marketing,” Ms. Radcliffe said. “We gave away the ice pops and Snapple to 45,000, but who knows how many more we reached.”

World-renowned ice expert
Snapple’s effort had been in the works since mid-May and was the ultimate creation of world-renowned ice expert Max Bollkman Zuleta. The ice pop was kept in pieces at minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit in Edison, N.J., before it was transported to Union Square in a freezer truck. It contained more than 3,950 gallons of kiwi strawberry mixture.

The current Guinness World Record is held by Jan Van Denberg from The Netherlands, who built a 21-foot, 4-inch-high by 7-foot, 5-inch-wide by 3-foot, 7-inch-thick pop in August 1997. Snapple was trying to beat that with a 24-foot-high by 5-inch-wide by 5-foot-thick ice construction.

First ice pop: 1905
The event at Union Square also featured an autograph signing by Wendy “The Snapple Lady” Kaufman, who tested visitors’ knowledge of Snapple “Real Facts,” the obscure facts included underneath Snapple lids and on the sticks of the Snapple on Ice pops. The two-and-a-half-story pop had been set to include an enormous stick with a “Real Fact” noting that an 11-year-old boy created the first ice pop in 1905.

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