In a new advertising effort, Snapple Beverage Corp. this summer plans to spend about $3 million to imprint images of Snapple bottles on New Jersey beaches, New York City MetroCards and postcards to be distributed at music shops and bookstores across the country.
The postcards won't have plain old brand messages; they'll include a mini "spin the bottle" game. And perhaps with love on the brain, Snapple also will advertise in about 50 alternative weekly newspapers, in the personals section.
All this is to protect Snapple's quirky image from becoming too mainstream, now that sales are climbing under new owner Triarc Cos. Triarc acquired the ailing brand from Quaker Oats Co. two years ago, and has breathed new life into Snapple with new products and new ads.
This effort is on top of Snapple's estimated $27 million TV and radio campaign for 1999. Deutsch, New York, handles the account.
"We're adding another layer," said Steve Jarmon, VP-advertising and communications. "We wanted to incorporate a little more community-based, grass-roots efforts."
Snapple will use the ads to tout its iced tea and juice lines as well as its new Elements line of functional beverages.
Martha Pearlstone, senior VP-account director at Deutsch, said the new work allows Snapple to "get a little bit deeper into the fiber of some of their strongest local communities."
Alternative newspapers, for instance, are not the typical venue for national beverage ads. They'll be bunched under the heading, "Snapple seeks people."
"Ready for a romance that will change you forever? I may not be the one you settle down with, but I will be the one you'll never forget," reads one ad slated to break next month. Another reads: "Tough and tender, Diet Raspberry tea seeks female for crazy days and wild nights."
"We've heard consumers say time and again that this is what they expect from a brand like Snapple," Ms. Pearlstone said. "They want to be surprised and delighted. As any brand continues to grow and be more successful, you need to make sure you're maintaining its core values."
Snapple case sales rose 14% for the most recent quarter, ended April 4, following an 8% increase for 1998.
The marketer doesn't break out dollar sales for individual brands, but Snapple played a big part in the 50% increase in Triarc's premium beverage sales last year, to $611.6 million, a company spokeswoman said.
'FORM A DISCONTINUITY'
Peter Flatow, president of marketing consultancy CoKnowledge, said Snapple's alternative strategy is a good bet.
"Consumers today are bombarded by so many messages that look alike that the brain can't deal with them," he said. "If you can form a discontinuity for the consumer that is on target, it reinforces and triggers an awareness that will make everything work better. It is all framing a reference and making that connection."
Meanwhile, Wendy Kaufman remains in the picture. While she's no longer in national TV spots, she continues to serve as a Snapple ombudsman at promotional events, including a national comedy tour linked to Comic Relief that wraps up