Beverage Business INSIGHTS:
Activate is putting in place last piece of puzzle for cap-activated brand that has done careful job of raising capital, refining package and establishing distribution: its first marketing campaign. Under marketing chief Jesse Merrill, former Honest Tea exec behind catchy gimmicks like “Honest Cities” program, Activate has set Oct program that includes outdoor, radio, digital and other media. It’s just launched 20 billboards in hi-visibility spots around Southern Calif with messages that tread middle ground between sober recitation of Activate bennies and cheekiness of Vitaminwater: “Sugar is not a vitamin.” “Want fresh vitamins? We twist the cap, not the truth.” “Our cap is full of vitamins. Other caps are just full of cap.”
Message is also being disseminated in wild postings, health club panels (that include bounceback coupon steering consumers to Ralphs chain) and the double-decker buses plying Hollywood. Radio spots on Clear Channel and CBS networks are divided between 30-second branded messages and promo spots keyed to specific chains that add displays. Messages have been crafted to offer “charm and humor, but not the cheekiness of Vitaminwater,” in synch with more serious brand proposition and target of 18-to-34’s, Merrill said. Subsequent phase of campaign will start incorporating locally compelling endorsers such as San Diego Chargers’ Philip Rivers and Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman, not so much for their sheer celeb appeal but for their ability to “embody the notion of living life at 100%,” Jesse explained.
Exec behind media buzzworthy promos like Honest Cities, in which hidden cameras tracked honesty of consumers invited to purchase bottle of Honest Tea at unattended racks in public areas, is lookin’ to generate similar buzz behind Activate. To do that co will employ such gimmicks as human-powered vending machine, in which consumers pedal bike to obtain freebie bottle, with price donated by Activate to Nourish America cause. First outing drew 1,000 consumers and 80+ media mentions. Ideas like this will be road-tested thru Q4 and refined in prep for 2012 rollout, Jesse said.
Co isn’t overlooking blocking-and-tackling aspects of building new brands, hiring 3 full-time field marketing mgrs for core Southern Calif territory (San Diego, LA, Orange County and Inland Empire) and others for NorCal, Ariz and South Fla.